How to Roast a Pastured Chicken

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This recipe is going to be preceded by a long intro. I feel it’s necessary because today we are talking about making a roast chicken.

I feel like most people have roasted a chicken in their life but I suppose not that many were pleased with the results. That’s because roasting a chicken, although it seems simple, is actually very easy to mess up accidentally. I will introduce you to a few basic rules that should hopefully help you understand how to roast a chicken and then we’ll move on to the recipe.

But first, let’s talk about the chicken itself. I highly recommend that you choose a pastured chicken over any commercial or free-range chicken. Pastured chickens were actually able to freely roam the outdoors, were able to eat grass and bugs as they pleased. They were happier and you can really taste that! Pastured chickens have leaner meat because they are not getting fattened with grains or injected with artificially bloating solutions after being packaged.

Whenever I make roasted chicken for anyone else besides my closes family, I mention that this chicken is a pastured one. I hope that this way, they will be able to appreciate the difference in taste and choose a pastured bird themselves when they are roasting something. I do it casually because I don’t want to force other people to follow the exact same principles as I do but because I just want to normalize making an ethical choice.

Things you need to remember when roasting a pastured chicken:

  1. Roast longer but at a lower temperature. The bird will stay moist while still having crispy skin when roasted at about 325 degrees F.
  2. Place the chicken breast side down so that it will soak up all the juices flowing downwards. The breast is made up of white meat which is the most prone to drying out.
  3. Don’t use a roasting pan but instead, put the chicken over a layer of potatoes and other vegetables so that they can all roast together. It helps the chicken stay moist because roasted vegetables release water as they cook, causing more steam. The chicken juices will also flow down to the vegetables, giving them a perfect flavoring without you having to do anything.
  4. After roasting, let the chicken rest for at least 20 minutes to prevent the juices from flowing out when cut. When you finally carve your chicken, all the juices will still be intact and each slice perfectly moistened.
  5. Usually, one roasted chicken can feed 6 people. But, if your chicken has less than 3 pounds, consider buying more chickens.

Necessary equipment:

  • a jelly roll pan
  • parchment paper
  • two mixing bowls, small and large
  • a kitchen twine
  • kitchen shears
  • a sharp knife



  • 1 large pastured chicken
  • 4 T. of grass-fed butter (how to make butter)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic head
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 T. of dried parsley
  • 1 T. of dried rosemary
  • 1 T. of dried basil
  • 1 T. of dried oregano

vegetable bed:

  • 3 pounds of organic potatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • 20 cloves of garlic
  • 4 lemons
  • olive oil
  • 1 t. of dried parsley
  • 1 t. of dried rosemary
  • 1 t. of dried basil
  • 1 t. of dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Prepare a jelly roll pan by lining it with parchment paper and set aside for now.

vegetable bed

  1. Prepare the vegetables. Cut potatoes and onions into 1-inch pieces, and peel all of the garlic. Slice the lemons very thinly.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix the potatoes, onions, garlic cloves, and lemon slices.
  3. Drizzle with a few generous dashes of olive oil and add all the dried herbs. Use a wooden spoon to make sure all the veggies are seasoned roughly the same.
  4. Transfer the vegetables onto your parchment paper-lined jelly roll pan.

the chicken

  1. Cut the onion, garlic head, and lemon in half.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine all the dried herbs (parsley, rosemary, basil, oregano).
  3. Remove the giblets from your chicken’s cavity and set them aside. You can use them to make, e.g. a chicken stock.
  4. Rinse the chicken with water, both outside and inside. Pat dry.
  5. Use the onion, garlic head, one half of the lemon, and thyme sprigs to stuff the chicken.
  6. Make sure the cavity is closed by tying the chicken’s legs with kitchen twine.
  7. Now place the chicken onto the vegetable bed breast side down. Use kitchen twine again to tie the wings.
  8. Rub butter all over the chicken using your hands.
  9. Squeeze the juice out of the other half of the lemon over the chicken and vegetables.
  10. Sprinkle the herb mix you prepared earlier over the chicken.
  11. Roast on a lower rack for about 2,5 hours or until the chicken is tender.
  12. Remove from the oven and transfer the chicken onto a cutting board.
  13. Cover with aluminum foil or parchment paper and leave to rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  14. Remove the covering and carve the chicken. Serve with roasted vegetables on the side.

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