This recipe is a much more manageable alternative to a big Thanksgiving turkey, and the chickens cook a lot faster. A good option if you're having a smaller holiday gathering, it's also something you can also cook year round.
This segment aired on KTLA's California Cooking: Episode 8.
- 2 whole chickens, about 5 pounds each
- 8 tablespoons (one stick) butter, at room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest (reserve orange for decoration)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (reserve lemon for decoration)
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 3 fresh sage leaves, chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves from several sprigs
- 4 ribs celery, barely chopped
- 3 large carrots, barely chopped
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
How to make:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Clean the chicken, gently removing the gizzards from the cavity. Pat the birds dry with paper towels.
- Make the garlic-herb butter: In a bowl, use a fork to combine the softened butter, salt, pepper, garlic, the lemon and orange zests, paprika, sage and thyme.
- Loosen the skin from the meat of the chickens, and use your hands to spread the garlic-herb butter underneath the skin. Spread butter on outside of chickens too. Sprinkle more salt on outside.
- In a large roasting plan, place celery, carrots and onion at the bottom. Nest the two chickens on top, breast side up.
- Using cooking twine, tie the legs together on both birds.
- Roast for about 1 ½ hours. Once skin is crispy and chicken is done, remove from the oven. Tent loosely with foil and allow to sit about a half-hour before serving. (Note: You can use the pan juices to make gravy, if you like.)
- Place the chickens on a serving platter, and decorate with more thyme springs, cut lemons and oranges, if desired.