When I was a little girl, there was breakfast, lunch and supper. And then there was “dinner”! Dinner was always on Sundays and was served at about noon. We loved going to Grandma’s house where there was always something good cooking away on the stove, the pressure cooker was rockin’, the oven jam packed, lots of clamoring going on, and the aroma greeted you at the door like a dear, faithful friend. Our tummies would instantly start to growl in anticipation of the wonderful meal sure to come! We most often had some type of chicken. Usually fried chicken or roast chicken, and sometimes barbecued chicken on the grill in the summertime. But chicken was economical and could always feed a crowd of hungry people! Roasted to perfection, the juicy, tender meat would literally fall right off of the bone, melt in your mouth, and the outer skin was just crunchy enough to give it perfect balance! Delicious, buttery goodness, I tell you what! 😉 Though I still love to make roast chicken and my recipe really is truly wonderful, there was nothing like going to Grandma’s house. Is there ever?
For this roast chicken, I’m using a small collection of my favorite herbs, but you can change them up and use your own favorites if you’d like. I like a nice mix of italian herbs, thyme, a bit of garlic to give it warmth and depth, a nice amount of salt and pepper, and a bit of paprika for beautiful color! I always, always, always use chicken broth on the bottom of the pan which makes it moist and tender, and do a nice baste of melted butter before roasting. It will give the skin a gorgeous color and crisp it up just ever so slightly. It is one of my favorite “dinners”, the chicken all dressed in its “Sunday Best”, and will always remind me of going to Grandma’s house.
“Sunday Best” Roast Chicken with Apple & Veggie Stuffing
1 (5 lb.) whole roasting chicken
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
1 fuji apple, cored and diced into 3/4″ pieces, (peeled or unpeeled)
4 large red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1 – 1 1/2″ pieces
1 small bag sweet baby carrots
1 large sweet vidalia onion, cut into large bite-sized chunks
2-3 large ribs celery, sliced thickly
1 Tbl. olive oil
2 tsp. seasoning salt, I use “johnny’s”
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed with fingers and thumb
1 tsp. dried italian seasoning
2 tsp. paprika
4 Tbl. (half a stick) real butter, melted
1 Tbl. cornstarch
1 Tbl. cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove any “innards” from chicken. Save for another use or discard. Rinse chicken and cavity with cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Oil outside of chicken well with olive oil. Sprinkle chicken, inside and out, with seasoned salt and pepper evenly. Stuff cavity with half of apple, some celery and some onion. Whatever will fit. Place chicken into shallow roasting pan. Tuck wings under and tie legs together if desired. Place rest of apple, celery and onion evenly around chicken. Add baby carrots and potatoes. Toss to mix. Pour chicken broth over veggies and apples evenly and season with salt and pepper to taste. Baste chicken with melted butter and bake in oven for 20 minutes per pound. Mine is done at one hour and 40 minutes. No need to baste while baking. Remove from oven and place chicken onto serving platter. Remove all veggies and apples with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl. Cover veggies and let chicken rest, tented with foil, while making gravy.
Pour juices into a saucepan. Mix 1 Tbl. cornstarch with 1 Tbl. cold water. Bring juices to a boil, whisk in cornstarch slurry, and simmer 2 minutes, stirring, until thickened for gravy. Add more salt and pepper to taste if needed. It usually needs just a little more pepper.