Friday Night Dinner – Perfect Roast Chicken

After a whirlwind 2016, I have enjoyed spending time at home this winter before my travel schedule picks up again. While I love to try new restaurants and explore Chicago with friends and family, some nights it is nice to stay in and enjoy a home cooked meal.

Nothing says Friday night dinner like the smell of chicken roasting in the oven. Prepping and roasting a whole chicken is really quite simple once you get the hang of it, and the final product is always quite impressive.

But first, a small appetizer and a glass of wine? Of course! Even when I am at home I often crave the flavors of my far off adventures. Spain is a favorite spot of mine, especially because of the delicious cheese and cured meats. So before I got working on my chicken, I prepped a small Spanish inspired tapas plate to enjoy as the chicken roasted in the oven.

spanish tapas cheese wine food photography

Ok. Back to the main course. You will want to preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Do yourself a favor and buy a whole chicken with the giblets removed. Less mess to deal with! Rinse the chicken inside and out and then generously salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with thyme, lemon, and a full head of garlic.

roast chicken dinner food photography

Next, you’ll want to melt high quality salted butter and then liberally brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Finally, place onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan with the chicken. It’s really that simple, and I promise the flavor will be amazing!

roast chicken dinner food photography

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh, or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F. Finally, slice the chicken onto a platter.

Before I knew it I had a beautiful, home cooked meal ready to put on the table!

roast chicken barefoot contessa recipe

The house smelled so delicious, Fellini jealously had his nose in the air for hours. It was the perfect friday night at home in Chicago!


What You’ll Need

  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges

Recipe courtesy of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

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