Good Old Fashioned Roasted Chicken

 Paleo * Gluten free


Roasted chicken made many appearances in my mother’s home.  Not exactly a holiday meal – that was usually roast beef – but generally for a slightly special event.  She would always “salt” the chicken before cooking which was her nod to kosher chicken (only a nod, because the chickens themselves were never kosher –  they hadn’t been ritually slaughtered the way they needed to be).  I think the salting came from my grandmother who actually did keep a kosher home and would salt the kosher chicken  because, although most kosher chickens you buy today are already salted, back then they were not.  It turns out that all this salting today translates into brined chicken which is a very up-to-date way to treat a bird. The very short semi-brine (really brined chicken sits in a salted waterbath for several hours), will give you a really moist and succulent roast.

The next question is why do I need a recipe for roast chicken on a dairy-free site?  It seems, if you ask many experts including: Julia Child, Craig Claiborne (New York Times Cookbook), Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagassi, Ina Garten, Thomas Kellerman, Paula Deen (bless her heart, Paula Deen uses 1/2 cup of butter in her chicken – everyone else uses about 2 tablespoons), etc. that butter is an important element in creating excellent roasted chicken.  So here is my butter-free version.
Notice that I don’t bother basting; I just let the heat and rub do their job…and don’t throw the carcass away.  Place the carcass and any leftover chicken in the freezer for next Friday’s post.Good Old Fashioned Roasted Chicken

This rub is an old family recipe.  Mom used it on all forms of roast (the holiday roast beef was cooked this way but without the ginger) and as a basis for most of her stews as well.  It’s amazing how it tasted different but delicious in every recipe.  If you are using a big bird (capon or roaster or turkey) us a larger pan and double the rub.

1 to 2 tablespoons kosher salt

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (or more to taste)

Salt to taste

1 (3 to 4 pound)  chicken (I like to use free range)

1/2 cup water

1.   Rinse the chicken, then generously sprinkle with salt inside and out.  Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes (if you’re going to leave it for more than 20 minutes, refrigerate it).  Rinse chicken thoroughly in cool water and pat dry.  Preheat oven to 375F.


2.   In a 9-inch square  baking pan, lined with aluminum foil for easier clean-up if you like (I confess I used an 8-inch pan for these photos, then decided it was too small so I’m calling for a 9-inch pan), combine the onion, paprika, oil, garlic, ginger, pepper and salt.


Rub the chicken all over with the paprika mixture.


3.  Place the chicken in the oven (breast side down) and bake 40 minutes.


Remove from oven and (at this point turn upside down  so it is breast up) pour in the water and stir as best you can to get the onions moistened and paprika mixture dissolved.


4.  Return to oven and bake 35 to 55 minutes longer or until it is 170°F or until the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork. The cooking time will depend on the size of the bird figure 20 minutes per pound plus 10 minutes for good measure.


5.  Let rest 10 minutes; carve and place pieces on serving platter.


For gravy:  skim the fat from the pan drippings and place in a blender.  Cover and process until smooth; heat if necessary.

Don’t throw the carcass away.  Place carcass and any leftover chicken in the freezer for next Friday’s post.

Serves 4 to 6, depending on the size of the bird.

Serves 4 to 6, depending on the size of the bird

MENU:   Escarole and White Bean Soup, Roast Chicken, Brown Rice Pilau, Dilled Carrots,  Macaroons and Strawberries dipped in Dark Chocolate




  1. So, I made this. I followed the recipe exactly. It is quite simply, the best roast chicken I’ve ever had, bar none.

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