Juicy down to the white meat, completely flavorful AND easy and simple to make? This is the roast chicken recipe that will NEVER disappoint, especially with my secret trick to a succulent, juicy bird every time!
When I was a teen, I hated cooking a whole chicken. Simply because I’ve hated chicken breast with a passion. I only had it when other people made it, and boy, chicken breast can be duh-ryyy and flavorless! I never knew it any other way, and thus, avoided it like the plague. Unless a recipe specifically calls for chicken breast, I am a chicken thigh girl for life. Also, chicken breast is so expensive.
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As a newlywed, I had this fabulous older lady in the next building over as a beloved neighbor with her sweet Scotty dog. Her name was Ms. J, and she showed me many tips in making great meals for my new husband. She also showed me how a rich widowed socialite lives, with her hair done by a professional at home, a cigarette in her mouth, and a young man that she called on whenever she pleased. You go, Ms. J.
First thing you gotta learn is how to roast a chicken, I was told as she plopped a fresh bird on her counter. No one hates a well-cooked whole chicken, especially not a hungry man. And she taught me the secret technique to making this roasted chicken juicy every time:
You stick celery up it’s behind.
Seriously! Not for flavor, in fact if you didn’t stick anything else into the cavity but celery, that chicken would be incredibly juicy when done. That secret, that technique, has given me a succulent bird every Thanksgiving. No matter the size of the bird, from an eleven pound baby to a thirty pound behemoth, always juicy. Every time.
Now, back to the whole chicken. I wasn’t even going to share this recipe, until I wanted to make sure the chicken wasn’t overdone, and cut into the breast.
Baby, when I tell you that slice of chicken breast was the most moist, tender, juicy and flavorful piece of meat I’ve eaten since my French Dip Beef Sandwiches….HONEY!
Okay, there is also something else about this recipe besides celery up the butt. Are you ready? The secret ingredient to great flavor in this bird is…
Oh, I remember making this for the first time and I told Brian that I was using mustard, literally slathering it all over the chicken. He pitched a fit, he hates mustard! But when the chicken was roasting and as it was coming out, it smelled so amazing that he wanted a bite and he loved it! Because the mustard doesn’t give a ‘mustard’ taste, but it does bring is crucial in the taste of the recipe. It’s zesty, it’s bright, it gives regular ole ‘roasted chicken’ a boost in flavor
Give this a try, it will become a family favorite. Just don’t tell your mustard-hating husband there’s mustard in it ;).
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- 1 4 lb young chicken, fresh
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 head of garlic, sliced open horizontally
- 2 stalks celery, chopped in half
- 1/4 cup butter, softened to room temp
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- Juice of 1 lemon, with lemon reserved
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp rosemary, optional
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Dry chicken and it's cavity with a paper towel. Season the cavity with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp, then stuff the bird with half the onion, the celery stalks, both halves of the garlic head, the juiced lemon (not the juice!) and quartered lemon.
- In a 9x11 baking dish, pull apart the layers of the other half of the onion, and place them in one layer in the baking dish. Place the chicken on top of the onion.
- In a small bowl, mix the butter, lemon juice, dijon mustard, oregano and rosemary together until well combined. Make pockets beneath the chicken breast skin with your hands, then rub 1/3 of the butter mixture beneath the skin of the breasts, over the entire breast generously. Use the rest of the butter mixture to rub onto the skin of the chicken, evenly into every nook and cranny. Make sure to get butter into the crevices of the legs and wings as well.
- Salt and pepper the chicken well over the entire bird, making sure to get into crevices. Tuck the wings under the bird, then place into the oven. Let cook at 425 for 30 minutes, then turn temperature to 350 degrees F for 1 hour -1 hour and 15 mins, or until internal temperature is 155-160 degrees F. Temperature will rise as the bird rests.
- After chicken is done cooking, let rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 434
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More dinner ideas?
French Dip Sandwiches are a real crowd pleaser in my house, especially since the smell of the roast cooking is so irresistable.
Or, if you are short on time, check out this Weeknight Chicken Cordon Bleu with Parmesan Dijon Cream Sauce. You will have dinner on the table in about half an hour, start to finish!
See you in the next post!
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.