We have a roasted chicken about once a week lately because they are so easy to make. But, I noticed that no matter what I did to the chicken, it tasted pretty much the same every time. I tried using various rubs and spices on the skin and tried sticking different veggies inside but we always ended up with skin that tasted like the seasoning I used and meat that tasted, well, like chicken. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Last night I had an epiphany so now I introduce to you, a roasted chicken with bacon and garlic cloves with an herb crusted skin.
4-5 pound whole chicken
2 tbsp butter
1 tbps herbs de provence (or mixed thyme, basil, oregano)
4 slices bacon, raw, cut into 1 inch pieces
10-15 garlic cloves, peeled
Optional: half onion or lemon, carrots or celery to place inside chicken
Preheat oven to 325°. Most recipes will tell you to cook a chicken at 350° or higher but I prefer a lower temp for a longer period of time because the meat stays juicier and the flavors have more time to blend. Don’t worry, the skin will still get crispy and delicious.
Gently lift the skin from the meat of the chicken breast, legs, and thighs. Place pieces of bacon under the skin of the thighs, then put garlic cloves under the skin of the thighs. Repeat with the legs (bacon, then garlic) and the breasts working your way up. If you put in all of the bacon then do the garlic you’re bound to push the bacon around and will have to go back and rearrange it. Also, I prefer to put more bacon on the breast since it tends to be dryer and have less flavor than the legs and thighs.
Melt the butter and mix in the dried herbs. Use a spoon or a brush to apply the herb mixture to the outside of the skin. If you aren’t using a brush, use your free hand to rub the butter around. The butter will thicken once it hits the cold chicken skin so it won’t all run off into your pan. Make sure to coat the breast, thighs, and legs well.
If you have half an onion, a lemon, or some other veggies such as celery or carrots on hand that you need to use up, put them inside the chicken. This will help it stay moist but if you don’t have anything, don’t worry.
Other recipes will tell you to tie the legs together and pin the wings back. If you want to do that, by all means do. But, I never have string on hand (who does?) and have never felt the need to do that much work. This is supposed to be an easy dinner after all!
Roast the chicken for 90-110 minutes depending on how big it is. When the juices start to run clear, it’s done! Be careful plating as the garlic cloves tend to slide out from under the skin and you don’t want that deliciousness to escape the plate. Enjoy and don’t forget to save the bones and leftover meat for a delicious pot of homemade stock.