Use time efficiently by implementing this recipe, preparing a healthy, delicious meal with minimal work. Make a double or triple batch of the herb mix, and season several birds all at once, to be especially efficient. The pre-seasoned birds will keep in the freezer, ready to thaw and roast at a future date.
A blender (or Vitamix) will quickly process a whole bunch of fresh herbs (and garlic) fine; much quicker than hand-chopping. It might be a bother to clean the blender for a small batch, but for large quantities, it’s worth it.
The paprika in this mix lends a bit of color, making the skin a deep brownish color; the cayenne adds some kick. I happen to have sage, thyme, and rosemary running rampant in my yard, so I use those, but almost any combination of herbs and spices can work, according to preferences. Dry herbs can substitute for fresh, if necessary. The main point is that the seasoning gets rubbed on the meat under the skin, infusing it with so much flavor.
Organic, free-range chickens turn out perfectly; generic whole chicken fryers can be used, but there will be an excess of fat. Part of the beauty of the organic chickens is that they’re much leaner; one doesn’t have to remove an inch of fat from the roasting pan before serving the meal. Plus, many studies show that the fat of organic chickens is of a different chemical makeup; I don’t feel guilty using the rendered fat from this recipe, mixing it in with the juices to flavor the meat I pull off the bone, or to flavor any accompanying veggie dishes.
Makes 2 small whole chickens, to serve 6-8.
- 2 whole chickens
- Large handful of fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, and thyme are good choices)
- 1-2 TBS. garlic, fresh, chopped
- scant 1 TBS. salt
- 1 TBS. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne (or to taste)
1. To prepare seasoning blend, hand chop or process in blender: > Large handful fresh herbs > 1-2 TBS. garlic, fresh, chopped
2. Mix into chopped garlic and herbs: > scant 1 TBS. salt > 1 TBS. paprika > 1/2 tsp. cayenne
3. Gently work fingers under the skin of chickens. On both ends, and on top and bottom, the chicken skin can be separated some from the meat, enough for one to rub the seasoning mix onto the meat. Go into the drum/thigh/wing areas a bit too, as best as possible. Also spread some herbs around the inside cavities. Use: > 2 fryers, preferably organic
4. Roast chickens in an iron skillet or two, if possible, or a baking pan. Allow enough space around the two birds, so they don’t steam. They should cook for a long time on a low temperature, for extra flavorful, moist meat, and crunchy skin. Roast at 225 degrees for 3-4 hours, and serve.
5. Extra meat can be pulled from the bones, for future meals; the bones can be used to make a delicious stock.