Mariel here. When I first started experimenting in the kitchen, I thought roasting a chicken was the ultimate test of culinary prowess – akin to roasting a Thanksgiving turkey or serving edible food to actual guests. I was wrong. Roasting a chicken is absurdly easy, which I found out the first time I tried it in a half-size stove from the 60s and succeeded beyond my wildest expectations.
A whole roasted chicken looks fancy, but even the biggest rubes can tackle this bird without too much trouble – plus, they’re far more economical than purchasing breasts and thighs, a la carte. However, there are a few small notes to heed to ensure you don’t dish up a disaster.
- First, as a roasting rule of thumb, estimate about 20 minutes per pound, and add an extra 15 minutes for stuffing (at 350 degrees). So, for a 5lb stuffed chicken, you’ll be looking at about 1 hour 55 minutes, give or take depending on your oven. Check the temp after about 1 hour 15 minutes, to be safe.
- Secondly, if you haven’t yet invested in a meat thermometer, now’s the time. To garner an accurate reading, insert the thermometer into the joint between the thigh and the body, without touching bone (which will skew the numbers). Your bird is done when the thermometer reads at least 165 degrees. Also take a reading of the stuffing’s temperature; again, 165 degrees is the magic number. If you don’t own a thermometer, you can test for “doneness” by wiggling the drumstick, which should move freely; or insert a skewer into the leg and confirm the juices run clear.
- Thirdly, once your chicken is cooked, don’t slice it up right away. After removing it from the oven, let it stand for about 15-20 minutes covered loosely with tin foil near a warm spot in the kitchen (like next to the oven). This allows the juices to return to the meat.
- Finally, if you have any leftovers, make sure to remove the stuffing from the cavity and store separately.
Roasted Chicken Stuffed with Dried Figs, Wild Rice and Sweet Onions
Serves 5-6 people
5-6lb whole chicken, washed and removed of giblets – $7.45
3 cups of cooked long grain wild rice (I used Uncle Ben’s) – $2.59
1 large Vidalia onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices, then quartered – $0.85
8-oz package dried figs, chopped very coarsely – $4.99
1 cup white wine – stock
3 cloves minced garlic – stock
2 TBS olive oil, divided – stock
1/2 cup chicken broth – stock
salt and pepper – stock
Grand total assuming “stocked” pantry: $15.88
Cost per serving: $2.65
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cook wild rice according to package instructions. Take care not to overcook since you’ll be roasting it in the chicken.
3. In a large skillet, heat a TBS of olive oil over med-high heat. Saute the figs and onions for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Remove from heat and combine half of the fig mixture with all of the cooked wild rice, mixing well.
4. Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove giblets (you can save for later use in chicken stock, see our Matzo Soup recipe for instructions). Trim excess skin and fat, if desired.
5. Place chicken breast side up in a large roasting pan (untrussed). Combine minced garlic with 1 TBS of olive oil. Gently separate the skin from the meat and press the garlic mixture all over the breasts, thighs and drumsticks taking care not to tear skin. Also rub the mixture on the outside of the bird.
6. Stuff the cavity with the rice mixture, spread remaining rice around the bird along with the other half of the figs/onions. Pour white wine over everything. Then sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
7. Roast the chicken uncovered for a total of approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted at the joint between the high and body. IMPORTANT NOTE: After about an hour of roasting, I basted the chicken with the juices in the pan, I also added a half cup of chicken broth to the mix to keep things moist. I basted the chicken again 10 minutes before removing from the oven.
8. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from oven, cover loosely with tin foil and let stand for 15-20 minutes before carving.