Lovely family-friendly recipe: Slashed Chicken with Bacon Herb Butter
I decided that it was ridiculous that I wasn’t roasting my own chicken. The convenience of buying a chicken already roasted by the market had become habit. But that was lazy and (stupid) and there was really no reason why I wasn’t taking on this task at home. Anxious to try it (embarrassingly, for the very first time) I bought a chicken, pulled out the gizzards, etc, rinsed it and patted it dry. I rubbed my chicken with olive oil & fresh thyme/rosemary, stuffed it with lemon halves and onions, gave it a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and shoved it in a hot (450 degree F.) oven for 1 hour. The whole thing took about 10 minutes to prepare and then I got to drink wine and visit with my family while my kitchen filled with the most delicious scent of roasted chicken. The chicken came out so much better than those grocery store roasted chickens, I had some leftover meat to use for another recipe, and I used the carcass to make the most amazing chicken stock (for soup).
Why doesn’t everyone roast their own chickens? The convenience-factor that our society pushes upon us is trumping the small amount of effort it takes to make it yourself. Will I ever buy an already roasted chicken again? Of course, but if I’ve got an hour to play with I will most definitely do my own. Here’s the next recipe I tried:
Slashes are cut into the chicken on the top and the bottom, and then a fresh herb-bacon butter is literally rubbed onto the chicken and into the slashes. Sage leaves and sliced garlic are pushed in there too. I halved a lemon and popped it into the cavity of the chicken. Meanwhile, your oven is getting nice and hot with a Dutch oven in there heating up too.
Acting on a tip from a friend, I roasted the chicken breast-side down, which is supposed to keep the white meat more moist.
I roasted my 5 pound chicken at 450 degrees F. for an hour, uncovered. At that point I popped an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. At 165 degrees I pulled it out and let it rest with a tent of foil wrapped around it (the temperature continued to rise another 5 degrees or so). It turned out perfect. The meat was very tender and the flavors… the sage, the garlic, the bacon… were well permeated into the meat. This is not the kind of chicken you get when you purchase one of those bulk-roasted chickens at the market, that’s for sure. It’s much, much better.
Slashed Chicken with Bacon Herb Butter
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 slices raw bacon, chopped into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 whole chicken (about 5 pounds)
- 8 fresh sage leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
- Put a 5-quart oval Dutch oven in a cold oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. After the oven has preheated, continue to heat the oven and pan for 20 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine butter, raw bacon, chives, sage, thyme, zest, salt and pepper. Stir until well blended and set aside.
- Rinse the chicken well and pull out gizzards, etc. from inside the cavity. Pat dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife cut 6 three-inch long slashes (1/2-inch deep) along legs, breast and back. Rub herb butter all over the chicken with your hands, pushing the butter into the slashes. Push a sage leaf and a slice of garlic into each of the slashes. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Carefully place the chicken, breast side down, in the hot pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, way from the bone, registers 165 to 170 degrees, 60 to 75 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil; let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Carve the chicken and arrange on a warmed platter.
- If you have bacon grease available to you, use that in place of the raw bacon. Just add a scoop of bacon grease to the butter & you’ll impart some of that bacon flavor into the mix.
- If you are preparing this recipe as GLUTEN-FREE, just be sure to use a brand of bacon that is known to be GF.
- Why roast the chicken upside down? The breast meat stays more tender when the chicken is roasted upside down 🙂