Nothing basic about this dish! It's the simplest way to roast a whole chicken, whether its for a family dinner or your weekly meal prep and yields the most tender meat and crispy skin. Plus, my personal favorite which are the roasted onions on the bottom of the pan!
Keeping a large roasting pan in an already jam packed NYC kitchen isn't the most ideal so I typically use my large cast iron skillet for this. If you don't have one, I seriously recommend one. So many uses and one of the healthiest ways to cook!
Basic Roast Chicken
3-4 pound chicken, giblets/neck removed and patted dry
2 large onions (pick your type - red, yellow, sweet, doesn't matter!), quartered
1 1/2 lemons, quartered
5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 small bunch herb of choice (thyme, sage or rosemary are all great options
1/2 cup water
¼ cup avocado oil (or melted ghee)*
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place 1 of the quartered onions and 1 of the quartered lemons on the bottom of a roasting pan to create a bed for the chicken. Sprinkle lightly with half of the salt.
2. Place the bird on top of the bed, breast side up. Liberally pour about 1/4 cup olive oil all over the bird and some inside the crevice. Season the crevice of the bird with salt and pepper.
3. Remove skin slightly from breast meat so that you can rub olive oil and the 4 mashed garlic cloves under the skin. Leave garlic cloves under the skin for roasting. Place half lemon, remaining onions, head of garlic (top sliced off) and thyme into the crevice. Sprinkle the bird generously with salt & pepper and finish with the paprika.
4. Pour a very small amount of water into the bottom of the roasting pan and place in the oven on the middle rack.
5. Roast for 1 hour minutes and then reduce the heat to 350F. Continue to roast the chicken for another 45 minutes to an hour (depending on size of the bird). The temperature of the inner thigh (thickest part) should be 165F.
6. Remove from the oven and place chicken on a cutting board. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting.
* I recommend avocado oil or ghee as they are both safe for temperatures up to 400F whereas olive oil is better for lower heats.