Chicken is a staple in the diet of almost every American family. In fact, chicken outsold beef for the first time in 2013, making it America’s favorite protein — with breast meat accounting for 55% of all chicken meat sold. Crazy! It’s not hard to see why chicken is a top-seller: it’s generally cheaper and easier to cook than beef, has a better health rap, and it goes with just about everything. However, the chickens you find in most supermarkets aren’t raised healthfully. These factory-farmed chickens are raised for rapid growth and have a ton of health problems due to unsanitary living conditions — PLUS they’re fed everything from antibiotics to arsenic to GMOs, which you in turn consume when you eat them. Yikes!
So what’s a chicken lover to do? Go free range! I know, I know: the first thing people think when they hear “free range” is “empty wallet,” but it doesn’t have to be that way. Whole organic, free-range chickens are generally just cents more than the boneless skinless chicken breasts sold in the market, and because you’re using the whole chicken and not just paying for “parts,” you’re saving money at the same time. Plus, since they live a better life, so will you! Free-range, organic chickens have virtually none of the health concerns of factory-farmed chickens, and you’ll also get the nutritional benefit of the vitamin packed giblets (put them in the freezer for later) as well as the bones (save them to make stock – recipe to come!). And the best part? It tastes better than factory-farmed and could not be easier to make! Some people get grossed out over the sight of a whole chicken, and to those I say this: since when did it become repulsive to see where your food comes from?
This recipe is:
…& after! Look at that crispy skin. Nomz!
- 1 whole organic, free-range chicken (about 4-5 lbs.)
- 1 medium lemon, sliced thin
- 5-7 whole cloves of garlic
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- herbs of your choice (I used bay leaves)
1. Preheat oven to 425°F and place rack in the middle. Over a clean sink, remove the chicken from the package and let the juices drip off. Remove giblets. Set on a cutting board covered with paper towels and pat dry. No need to rinse – it only spreads germs, it doesn’t kill them!
2. Place chicken in a cast iron skillet. Rub entire chicken (body and cavity) with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with garlic cloves, lemon slices, and your choice of herb(s). You can place additional lemon slices around the outside of the bird for visual appeal, if desired.
3. Roast at 425°F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F and continue roasting until the juices run clear and a thermometer inserted into the inner thigh reads 165°F, about 50 minutes to an hour. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Then carve it up and dig in! Don’t forget to save the bones!
edit: This post is part of Allergy Free Alaska’s Whole Food Fridays