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The Perfect Roast Chicken

The perfect roast chicken starts with the freshest ingredients. Then, cook it simply. Sounds easy!

marking chicken in a pan

Photo: Sarah Kaiser/WFIU

Once the chicken has developed a nice crust, it is ready to roast.

There are two tests for a new cook looking to get a job in my kitchen: make the perfect omelet and the perfect roast chicken.

I have a gorgeous, local bird in the kitchen today, so let’s tackle the roast chicken recipe.

A crispy, crunchy skin is part of what makes a roast chicken so tasty. I achieve that by rubbing the outside of the raw chicken with a lemon. This is a trick I learned when I was living in Anguilla in the Caribbean — a traditional cooking technique in hot-weather locations. I imagine the acidity helps kill germs on the bird.

When you’re done with that, stuff the lemons inside to infuse the whole bird with that citrus flavor.

The chicken isn’t quite ready to go in the oven just yet. Brown both sides of the bird in a hot pan on the stovetop. In addition to charring the skin, this creates a caramelized crust on the bottom of the pan that you can use as a sauce when serving the chicken.

The Perfect Roasted Chicken


  • 1 farm fresh local chicken
  • 1/2 lemon
  • rosemary
  • bay leaves
  • thyme
  • mint
  • 1 whole bunch garlic, sliced in half
  • chopped garlic
  • olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • crushed pepper
  • water, white wine, or chicken stock

Cooking Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Rinse chicken inside and out.
  3. Rub it with half a lemon then stuff the used lemon inside.
  4. Stuff the bird with various herbs and seasonings, including rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, and mint.
  5. Slice the bunch of garlic in half. Put half at the entrance of the chicken toward the back. (This way the garlic will roast.) Save the other half to put in the pan.
  6. Rub the outside of the chicken with olive oil. Then massage it with kosher salt, crushed pepper, and chopped garlic.
  7. Add cold olive oil to a hot pan.
  8. Place the chicken breast-side down in the pan to sear it. Flip the bird and sear the other side.
  9. Then add ¼ of an inch of water, water and white wine, or chicken stock to the pan.
  10. Cook the chicken in the pan in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325 degrees and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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