This Orange Garlic Roasted Chicken recipe yields a flavorful chicken that can be used across several meals — and a carcass perfect for making chicken stock.
Chicken breasts have long been a mainstay of my kitchen. Although my children adore chicken drumsticks and I know how much more flavorful chicken thighs can be, it’s the chicken breasts that I buy and cook most often. They are lean and adaptable, familiar and reliable.
But with the cost of groceries on the rise, I’ve been considering how to get more out of my food purchases. While chicken breasts, which are most often sold in the boneless, skinless form where I live, are convenient, I am paying for that convenience. And perhaps it’s time to do that less often.
Enter the roaster chicken.
Roasting a whole chicken can result in multiple meals. You have the first meal of roasted chicken served with several sides. Something hearty like mashed potatoes and a vegetable (two is better) mean that you can conserve on how much meat is used for this first meal. For this, I usually slice the breasts thinly. Dark meat comprises a second meal for us, usually for my kids who love the thighs and drumsticks best.
If you have more meat leftover, it can be used in so many ways — on salads for lunches, in rice bowls or in soups, for instance. Finally, you have the carcass, which is perfect for homemade chicken stock. I make this in my slow cooker. Once I have removed as much of the meat as I can, I put the carcass into the slow cooker and fill it with water. 10 hours later, I have perfect chicken stock with which I can make soup or risotto or both. I usually use old sauce jars to store it, but go with what works best for you.
Whole chickens are highly economical for eating. The key is to use it all.
Start with the chicken. I recommend a good roaster chicken. Though it might be tempting to buy the smallest (and therefore cheapest overall) you can find, choosing a slightly larger one will yield more meat and thus more meal potential.
How you season the chicken is important. Rubbing the flavorings all over the outside of the chicken is tempting, but it’s better to gently loosen the skin and rub the flavorings onto the meat. This will yield a more flavorful result throughout.
Brushing the chicken all over with olive oil will ensure a beautiful browned bird. I should also note that although you want the seasoning under the skin, it’s okay if some makes its way to the outside as well.
(Why are my oranges pink? Because they are cara cara oranges. Any orange will work for this.)
Finally, roast. The best and most reliable way to know if your chicken is done is to use a thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the thigh. You want it to reach a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the chicken rest before you carve it.
This recipe for Orange Garlic Roasted Chicken has orange zest in the rub, which lends a lovely citrus aroma to the flavor. Cut into wedges and pushed into the chicken cavity, the zested orange also ensures a juicy chicken as well. Coupled with the fragrant garlic, this is a delight.
When I make chicken stock from this chicken, I include the orange wedges. They really make the stock something fabulous.
- 3-4 lb roaster chicken
- 1 orange, zested and cut into wedges
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a rack on top (you could use a broiler pan for this or a baking sheet and metal rack such as you'd use for cooling cookies).
- Drain the juices from the chicken into the sink and then place breast side up on the rack. Gently loosen the skin all over by sliding your hand between the skin and the meat.
- In a small bowl, stir together the orange zest, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Spread this mixture under the skin all over on the chicken, working to push it into hard-to-reach places. Stuff the orange wedges into the cavity, pushing as far in as they will go. Brush the skin with olive oil. If desired, you can also season the skin with a little additional salt and pepper.
- Slide the chicken into the oven. The rack should be in the lower portion of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Then, without opening the oven, reduce the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and roast for an additional 45-55 minutes, or until cooked through. The chicken is done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before carving.
Although it's not noted in the instructions, it's essential to wash your hands between steps, wash your preparation surfaces after working with the chicken and wash out your sink. In all cases, use soap or other disinfecting cleansers. This will help you prevent food-borne illness.