Cooking a whole chicken is delicious and affordable. Read about chicken labeling here. Ideally find a pastured bird, as this bird had plenty of time outdoors to eat bugs and roll in the dirt, both important chicken behaviors. The label free-range can be misleading as it only means the bird had access to the outdoors. So do your research to learn more about where your chicken came from. Organic is a good additional label as this means the feed was non-GMO and organic. However, this likely means organic soy and corn and many believe in avoiding soy so it may be worth looking into a farm that doesn’t use soy feed.
Crispy chicken skin is not only delicious, it’s good for you too. And eating as much of the whole animal as possible is healthy because different parts (skin, bones, liver etc) contain different nutrients. Once you eat the meat/skin, you can cook the bones to make a healthy bone broth. Bellow is my recipe for the perfect roast chicken which is good on its own with roasted vegetables or used for a number of different recipes listed bellow. Once you remove all the meat, use the carcass for this bone broth and soup recipe.
Perfect Roast Chicken
Set the oven for 425 degrees and place a large cast iron skillet or roasting pan inside to warm with 1/2-1 tbsp ghee or lard. Rinse chicken and place in hot greased pan. Pat dry with paper towel and sprinkle with pepper and sea salt. Place a couple tablespoons of ghee on top and put in the oven for 1 hour or 1.25 hours. I would recommend using a meat thermometer to insure it is cooked to 165 degrees. Ideally choose pastured, organic chicken but free range is okay if you trust the source, and since organic labeling can be expensive for small farms, non-organic is okay too if you know they aren’t using GMO feed).
I like to use the meat for a meal (like Chicken Caesar Salad) so you can enjoy the skin warm and crispy, and then use the leftover dark meat for soup or additional recipes. Here are some ideas:
Chicken Fajitas- recipe coming soon!