High-quality protein is crucial for hormone balance, weight management, and maintaining steady blood sugar. We love roasting up a whole chicken at the beginning of the week to feed us for multiple meals. A whole roast chicken seems complex, but this recipe will ensure it's one of the easiest ways to prepare chicken and it will become a staple in your rotation of recipes. It's also perfect for getting your meal prep done, as well.
Chicken is an Excellent Choice of Animal Protein
Chicken is the highest-consumed animal protein in the world. The commonality and accessibility to quality chicken can make it a healthful choice, but also a boring one if the same preparation is used repeatedly. Roasting is a cooking method that feels special and results in incredibly juicy chicken. This means it also stores well over a few days since it won't dry out as much as say, boneless, skinless chicken breast. Animal protein sources are complete proteins - meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids that our bodies do not produce on their own. Since these building blocks are crucial for almost every function in our body, getting an adequate amount in our daily diet is important.
Choose Your Oil Wisely
We've chosen avocado oil since it is stable at higher temperatures. This means as the oil heats, you don't run as high as a risk for oxidation of the fat. Oxidation can result in not only minimizing the benefits of certain oils but can also make them toxic when consumed (oxidized oils have been linked to inflammation and cancer). Solid fats like coconut oil and animal fat are the most stable at high heats, so if you are going above 400 degrees it's best to choose a saturated option. For light sauteeing or heating preparations below 400, a monounsaturated fat like olive oil is a great option. Avocado oil is monounsaturated like olive oil, but the variance in quality of olive oil sold makes it much more challenging to find a consistent heat tolerance.
Many people save high-quality oils for dressing and cheaper oils for cooking, which may benefit flavor, but it's not the healthiest approach. Higher quality oils have a denser concentration of antioxidants for heat protection, making them a better choice for cooking. Polyunsaturated fats that come from seed or nut oils should not be heated but saved for cold preparation like dressings. Always store oil in a cool, dry place to protect them from damage over time. Healthy fats are great for our hearts, so make sure to use the correct kind and store appropriately.
4-5 lb whole chicken
4-6 cloves garlic
2-3 rosemary sprigs
2-3 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
1-2 teaspoons avocado oil
Step 1: If using a skillet instead of a roasting pan, place entire pan into the oven and preheat oven to 400. If using a roasting pan with a rack, preheat the oven and keep roasting pan at room temperature.
Step 2: Remove giblets from chicken cavity, then wash and thoroughly dry chicken. Line a plate with paper towels and place chicken on the plate.
Step 3: Smash and peel garlic. Cut lemon in half. Rub salt and pepper all over the chicken, including the inside of the chicken cavity. Stuff chicken with garlic, lemon halves, and rosemary. Place chicken in refrigerator for one hour, uncovered, to help dry skin out further (this ensures crispy skin). If you are short on time, just pat the chicken down one more time with a paper towel before cooking.
Step 4: Rub olive oil on the chicken. Place chicken onto the hot cast iron or roasting pan, breast side up. Roast for 50-110 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken. Use a meat thermometer to ensure chicken has reached 165 degrees.
Step 5: Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately or save and use throughout the week!
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble
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