We have been growing herbs on our balcony all summer. They are drenched in the sunshine most of the day and drink in the mist from the fog that blankets the redwood studded mountainsides near our home in the late evenings.
The marine layer, predictable, but such a beautiful phenomenon for me, someone new to the area. It’s something I can count on, a constant, that helps nourish the vegetation in this area. We all get to enjoy it, marvel at its beauty, drink it into our lungs. Eventually we eat the fresh local vegetation, we consume a little sunshine, a little mist from the fog, the wind that helped it become sturdy and all the elements that helped to build that specific plant, full of nutrients and vitamins just ripe for the picking.
This week, we plucked a few of our fresh homegrown herbs from our planter boxes and made a delicious herb roasted chicken. A perfect meal as we are closing out summer and looking toward fall. Enjoy Everyone!
Herb Roasted Chicken
- 2 sprigs rosemary, picked and finely chopped, about 1 tablespoons
- 5 sage leaves, picked and finely chopped, about 1 tablespoon
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 sprigs of thyme, picked and finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons room temperature butter
- 1 (3 to 3 1/2-pound) whole chicken
- 1 cup chicken stock
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
In a small bowl combine the chopped rosemary, sage, garlic, pepper and butter. Season generously with salt. Using your fingertips carefully work your way under the skin of the chickens to separate the skin from the breast to develop a pocket. Schmear the herb paste under the skin of both chickens. Use all of the paste and try to distribute evenly. Massage the skin with a little extra butter or olive oil. The idea here is to lube them up like suntan lotion. This will really help to get a nice brown crispy skin. Sprinkle each chicken generously with salt.
In a 9×13 roasting pan, add chicken stock and season generously with salt. Arrange the chicken on a temperature safe rack ( I use a cookie rack) and place in the preheated oven. Start breast side down.
Check the chicken about 15 minutes into the cooking process, the skin should be starting to turn a lovely brown. Lower the heat to 375 degrees F and continue roasting. After another 15 minutes, remove the chickens from the oven and turn over. At this point check the level of liquid in the roasting pan. If most of the liquid has evaporated, add another cup of stock and return the chicken to the oven. When the chicken have browned on the bottom, about 15 minutes, remove them from the oven and turn them back over. Return the chickens to the oven for the final 15 minutes of cooking. During this time the skin on the chickens should be very brown and crispy. Remove the chickens from the oven and take the temperature in the crease between the thigh and the breast. (When doing this be sure not to have the thermometer probe touch a bone or you will get an inaccurate reading.) The thermometer should read between 160 and 170 degrees F. When cooking poultry in general the rule is 17 minutes per pound. If the thermometer reads less than 160 degrees F return the chicken to the oven for an additional 10 minutes and then re-check the temperature.
When chicken have reached the proper temp remove them from the roasting pan, place them on a warm platter and cover loosely with foil. Let sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
To carve the chickens:Pull the thigh and leg away from the breast of the chicken until the thigh bone “pops” out of the socket. This is also a sign that the chicken is cooked properly. Separate the thigh and drumstick. Remove the breast from the carcass by feeling for the ridge of the breastbone in the center of the chicken and slicing around the rib cage. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter or on individual plates.