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Ah, rosemary. I used to hate you. But now I love you. Even though you smell a little like pine needles – when I use you in my cooking – you make everything taste delicious.

I should add – only when chopped up super tiny. I watch people on TV use rosemary – and can’t stand it sometimes when they take it off the stem – have a giant pile, and barely run their knife through it – leaving it in big pieces! You know that’s going to be chewy and hard….you just know it.

I really did hate rosemary for the longest time – but now I love it. The first recipe I made with rosemary was my lemon rosemary chicken. I don’t know where exactly I got the inspiration for that one – probably Ina (love love love her) and so this recipe is a slight variation of that – Orange Rosemary Roast Chicken. Why orange you ask? Because I didn’t have any lemons and didn’t feel like going to the grocery store after work. Ah, laziness is the is the catalyst for invention in my cooking! Ha!

Before we begin I should also talk about why I love to roast an entire chicken. First – it’s easy. Second – it’s delicious. Three – the veggies on the bottom of the pan get super delicious cooking in the juices. And finally four – the leftovers. Oh, and five – just for good measure – it’s freaking freezing outside – having the oven on for 2.5 hours helps heat up the house. Ok, that last one was a little bit pathetic – but, that’s how I roll.

So here are the ingredients you’ll need – it’s a 1 pot dish – which is my favorite kind of cooking. Less cleanup is always something I am striving for.

First thing I do is work on the veggies – once you start working on the chicken your hands will be covered in chicken juice (ew, yeah, I just said chicken juice) so getting everything else finished first is the best approach. I had 1 large parsnip, some carrots, and some red potatoes – so I chop them into large-ish pieces to put under the chicken – along with 1 large onion and a head of garlic. P.S. I love garlic – so the more here the better. It’s gets roasted in the oven and turns sweet – very nice. I also sliced 1 orange into 4 segments and put that into the pan with the veggies. It will flavor the vegetables deliciously.

Lay those onto the bottom of your roasting dish and season with 1 t. salt and ½ t. pepper – but leave aside a  ¼ of the onion and 2 garlic cloves – we’re going to stuff those inside the chicken to give it some great flavor.

Next, chop up the rosemary. I use 2 sprigs for one 7-pound chicken. Any more than that is kind of overwhelming – rosemary, as delicious as it is, is very strong. So if you’re new to rosemary and aren’t sure about it – remember, less is more. Chop the rosemary up until very tiny…..We are going to baking this chicken for 2 – 2.5 hours – so it will have time to get soft. But still – it needs to be small.

Let’s make the sauce for the chicken – sauce….that’s probably not the right word. But it’s not quite a marinade. So let’s just stick with sauce. Zest 1 orange and juice it. You’ll need about 2 – 3 tablespoons of juice, so depending on how juicy your orange is, you may only need half. My oranges are really bad this time – super dry. So I need the entire thing.

Melt 1 T. butter and add the juice and rosemary to the butter. Add in 1 T. olive oil. Add in 2 t. salt, 1 t. pepper. Mix….

Now slice another orange into thin slices. You’ll need 4 for the entire chicken. Take the remaining orange and chop into large pieces – we’re going to throw that in the cavity of the chicken as well.

Get the bird prepared now – you’re going to want to clean out the cavity – and pat the bird dry. I mean…really get it dry. If you have a wet chicken, the sauce won’t stick – and it won’t be as flavorful.

Take a teaspoon of salt and sprinkle into the cavity – do the same with pepper. This is important – at least I think it is. Seasoning is key to a good dish. Otherwise, a bland chicken is a gross chicken.

Lay the chicken on top of the vegetables in the pan. Now dip the orange slices into the sauce – making sure to really get them covered in the salt, pepper and rosemary, and then take the orange slices and put under the skin of the chicken breasts.

The skin on the chicken breasts will be connected to the chicken – so before you can slide the orange slices under the skin, you’ll have to take your finger and run it under the skin to make a space between the skin and the meat to place the orange slices. Ok – so this is how it should look:

Rub the rest of the marinade all over the chicken – top, sides, and pour the remaining over the vegetables – if there is any. I didn’t really have any left – so I drizzled an additional 1 T. of olive oil over the vegetables to prevent them from burning. Put the remaining onion, garlic clovees, 2 rosemary sprigs, and remaining orange pieces inside the chicken. Place that bad boy in the oven – you can judge the amount of time you’ll need for the chicken by calculating 20 minutes per pound of chicken. I have a 7-pound chicken (don’t judge me – we’re big eaters), so I’m going to have it stay in the oven for 2 hours and 20 minutes. I don’t like to use the pop-up timers on chickens/turkey’s b/c I read somewhere that they aren’t accurate and will overcook the chicken – which is not good.

After you take it out of the oven – resist the urge to pick at the chicken. Really resist. It smells so good and has been perfuming the house for so long that it’s hard. But – let it sit for 15 minutes – you’ll be happy that you did b/c the juices will stay inside the chicken. Take the chicken out of the pan, slice the breast off in 1 piece, slice the wings, and legs off – and serve with veggies from the bottom of the pan. Drizzle over a little of the pan juices on top of the chicken – amazing! Make sure you take the orange slices out of the chicken before eating…..man oh man is it ever good. The combination of orange and rosemary is a winner! Definitely will be part of my recipe repertoire! Hopefully it will be one of  yours as well! Enjoy!

Orange Rosemary Roast Chicken

 Serves 3-4

Click here for recipe.

Ingredients:

5-7 pound roasting chicken
4 sprigs rosemary, separated
3 oranges
Zest of 1 orange
1 head of garlic
1 large onion, chopped
8-10 red skinned potatoes, chopped
2-3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
3-5 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 T. butter
2 T. olive oil – separated
4 t. salt
2 t. pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Prepare a roasting pan – lay foil on the bottom for easy cleanup.
  2. Chop the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onions in equal size pieces. Reserve ¼ the onion for the cavity of the chicken. Place the rest of the vegetables into the roasting pan. Sprinkle with 1 t. salt and ½ t. pepper. Add in all the garlic cloves, reserving 2 for the cavity.  Sprinkle vegetables with 1 T. olive oil.
  3. Make the sauce for the chicken: remove the rosemary from the sprigs and chop up very fine. Zest and juice 1 orange. Melt 1 T. butter – and mix all ingredients together with 1 T. olive oil, 2 t. salt, and 1 t. pepper. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the chicken: wash and thoroughly dry the chicken and sprinkle the cavity of the chicken with 1 ½ t. salt, and ½ t. pepper. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan. Using your finger, separate the skin from the chicken breast to allow space for the oranges.
  5. Slice ½ an orange into thin slices and chop the remaining orange into large pieces.
  6. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the remaining ¼ onion, 2 rosemary sprigs, 2 garlic cloves, and orange pieces.
  7. Take the slices of oranges and place into the sauce, covering as much as possible with the rosemary and seasoning – then take the 4 orange slices and place under the skin of the chicken breast.
  8. Rub the remaining sauce over the rest of the chicken – sprinkle any remaining sauce over the vegetables.
  9. Bake the chicken 20 minutes per pound at 375 degrees.
  10. Remove chicken, allow to sit for 15 minutes prior to slicing.
  11. Slice and serve chicken with the root vegetables from the pan – sprinkle chicken with pan juices.

Enjoy!

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