This past weekend I cooked for a 3-day immersive wellness weekend in Denver, Colorado hosted by my coach Nikki and yours truly. It was a massively magical weekend of healing, movement, community, incredible women, and my food of course 😉
On Saturday night I roasted FOUR chickens. I made my Salt + Sage Roasted Chicken, which is a staple in my life. I am not kidding when I say that I make it every single week. In addition to serving it for dinner, I love to prep and roast an extra bird so I have the wonderfully juicy and delicious meat left over for meal prep. Even cold, the roasted chicken’s breast beats a stand alone prepped breast by miles.
I demo’ed how to prepare the bird in this recipe for the entire group in Denver and I think they really appreciated it! Seeing the prep in real life really makes it feel doable, especially for those who are shy in the kitchen. Check out this throwback reel to see for yourself.
Anyway, the below recipe gets better with age (like some people ;). The chicken needs time to salt dry brine in the fridge. The best versions of this recipe are those birds I leave to brine for 2-3 days (I wouldn’t do more). So plan ahead. Salt two chickens on Monday to roast on Wednesday. Serve one for dinner then cut up and refrigerate the second for lunch or snacking later on in the week.
- Opt for a pasture raised organic chicken on the smaller side, so around 4 lbs
- Be sure to dry the entire bird inside and out. Like get it REALLY dry. Use towels, paper towels, whatever it takes. This is the key to getting that skin nice and crispy later on
- My version calls for sage and lemon rind, but you can substitute any herb you have. I’ve tried them ALL, including left over chimichurri, and my hands down favorite will forever be sage.
- An extremely hot oven is CRUCIAL
- Timing can be tricky as it depends on your oven (how hot can you really get it) and the size of the chicken. I give a general timing in the recipe below but the more you use this recipe, the more you refine the best timing for your oven and preferred bird size.
1 3.5-4 lb whole pasture raised organic chicken
10 sage leaves
rind of one lemon, zested or thinly sliced
1 large red onion, sliced
- Dry the entire bird inside and out. Get it VERY dry. I use paper towels, but if you want to use regular kitchen towels definitely wash the in hot water afterwards. I often stuff a few paper towels inside the cavity and leave it there to soak up residual moisture, just remember to take it out before roasting.
- Starting from just above the larger cavity opening, carefully run a finger between the skin and breast muscle, then down to the leg to create space for the herbs and lemon rind. I take 2-3 leaves of sage and a few strips of rind and push them into 4 spaces between skin/muscle – both legs and both breast. If I have extra , I’ll also shove sage/lemon onto the breast by the other side via the neck.
- Liberally, and I mean LIBERALLY salt the chicken allll over, including inside the cavity, under the wings, the butt, etc. I like to do this over a wire rack in the kitchen sink because salt does get everywhere. Its always a shock to others how much salt goes into this, but it’s a dry brine!!
- Let the bird rest in the fridge for at least 24 hours, I often place it between two paper towels or on the wire rack with a paper towel over it. Make sure not to enclose it as it will prevent the skin from drying out.
- On roasting day: preheat the overn to 475, I crank mine up as far asit goes, closer to 500.
- On the stove top heat a dry cast iron pan over high heat for a few minutes.
- Place the chicken breast side up in the pan, you should hear it sizzle immediately.
- I put it in the oven right away
- Timing will depend on your oven and the size of the bird (the less time for the 3.5lb, more for the 4lb), but my general rule is:
- 28-30 minutes breast side up
- 15-18 minutes breast side down
- Final 5 minutes breast side up
- Place the chicken on a cutting board and loosely tent with foil to keep warm.
- In meantime, using the same hot cast iron pan, return to stove top over medium heat pan fry the onion slices 8-10 minutes or until desired doneness. I like mine pretty caramelized so I sometimes pre cook the onion before getting them into the chicken fat.
- Pour any accumulated juices from the resting chicken back into the pan with the onions.
- Instead of or in addition to the onions, I’ll also stir fry freshly cooked rice into the chicken fat.
- Carve that bird and enjoy!
Where to buy chicken:
I’m pretty particular about where I buy my chicken. I use a few online sources as well as my favorite local butcher.
Of course, if you are in Miami, definitely check out my favorite local butcher Proper Sausage for more than just sausage but chickens, steaks, wine and local groceries.