Basic Roast Chicken with bonus recipe!

Autumn is juuuuuust around the corner, and despite it still being plenty warm here in the upper Midwest, I’m craving oven-baked meals and soups. The other day I remembered that I had a 5lb whole chicken from a friend in the freezer, so I thought it was time to roast it. There are myriad recipes out there for roasting a whole chicken, and I love the fancy ones, like Samin Nosrat’s Buttermilk-Brined Chicken, which I’ll probably make sometime soon. But, I wanted simple for a weeknight. So I went for Jacques Pepin’s Basic Roast Chicken that I found on New York Times Cooking (subscription required, but totally worth it). This was probably the best roast chicken I’ve ever made. Hence, I’m sharing it with you. Now, the bird I had was 5 pounds. Most from the store will be smaller. The instructions I give will be for a 3 1/2 pound bird, so I actually baked mine twice as long as what will be written here. This guide from The Spruce Eats will help you too!

And, below the chicken recipe, there’s a bonus recipe for a quick chicken stock using the carcass!


        Basic Roast Chicken a la Jacques Pepin                                                   IMG_3123


  • 1 3 1/2 pound whole chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Season the bird with salt and pepper, both in the cavity and on the skin. Stand the chicken on its side in an oven-safe dish; a cast iron skillet is ideal for this.
  2. Put pan in the oven for 20 minutes, then take out and flip the bird onto the other side. Roast for another 20 minutes. After those 40 minutes, place the bird on its back, baste with the cooking juices, and roast for another 10 minutes.
  3. Use a thermometer to check that the meat has reached 165 degrees, and if so, cut and serve!

(Note from the original recipe: by cooking the chicken on its sides, the juices stay in the breast and, since only the back is exposed, the chicken does not need constant basting.)



I served this with sauteed veggies and a glass of Claret. It felt very upscale and classy for a weeknight!







Bonus Quick Chicken Stock!


  • 1-2 chicken carcasses
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 8 parsley sprigs including long stems
  • 4 quarts filtered water
  1. Over high heat, bring all ingredients to a boil in a large stockpot. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 2-3 hours.
  2. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. If you want to, skim off the excess fat (I don’t typically). Otherwise, pour into jars and chill. This will keep in the fridge for a few days, but if you don’t plan to use it within that time, it can be frozen for a few months!

IMG_3130    ********************************************

So, I hadn’t intended to make stock last night, but I’m really glad I did. As you can see in the picture, I got 3 quarts plus a mug for me to sip on before bed. It.was.awesome.

I’m really excited to use this stock. It tasted better than any I’ve made in the past. Might have had something to do with the ridiculously simple chicken recipe I used. Who knows. But, I know it was worth it. I’ll be doing this at least once a month over the winter!


Happy cooking!!

Dreaming of autumn & pumpkin chili

Summer has come to an end, or at least mostly. The season itself doesn’t end for another couple of weeks, but school is back in session and today the weather was gloomy and kinda chilly. If I’m being honest, we are now entering my favorite part of the year. I love summer food, all the fresh produce and the endless grilling and chilled rose (or White Claw). But, as the weather chills and the sunlight lessens, I long for a good roasted chicken, or a great big bowl of pumpkin chili.

stock pumpkin photo

I’m also craving a big bowl of my roasted tomato soup, topped with lots of parmesan and eaten with a slice of crusty sourdough bread. Even though I’m generally avoiding bread for now, that might have to happen. Especially if I make a sourdough starter and make my own bread, which I’ve enjoyed doing in the past. (My starter was named Fred. He was wonderful. Someday soon I shall begin again with Fred Junior.)

It’s probably also a great time to mention that I’m going to be judging an apple pie contest next month; that gives me plenty of time to share my favorite recipe with you. I just need to visit the local orchards first. (A favorite pastime of mine, especially to indulge in hot apple cider and probably a cider doughnut; this is one of the perks of my parents living in Michigan, because those cider doughnuts are always incredible!)

Is your mouth watering yet?

soup thermos photo

I’ll be honest; my last weeks of August didn’t involve a lot of cooking. Stress and life happen and it’s entirely too easy to turn to a frozen pizza or just brown some ground beef with onions and peppers and eat that. This hasn’t been the healthiest approach, but hey. So, as I gaze into autumn and dream of pumpkin chili and falling leaves and hoodies, take note of the foods I listed above in bold type. Those are just a few of the recipes I hope to be sharing with you over the course of this next season.

This blog has long been a dream of mine, and personally I have let so much get in the way of it becoming a reality. But I’m excited. Now that I finally have a new laptop that actually runs well, it will be even easier to keep up, too.

So, this post doesn’t include a recipe, but I’m sitting here at my table with a sleeping cat draped over my arm and surrounded by far too many cookbooks (most from the library currently) and very happy to be sharing with you my love of cooking. Thank you for following along with me, and happy cooking!!