Some nights I want a home cooked meal without a lot of fuss. A whole roast chicken can take some prep work, but if you’re just roasting chicken breasts you can turn it into a quick and easy weeknight meal. My go-to version is a simple garlic and rosemary combination. Rosemary is a hearty herb, so you can find it fresh and full of flavor year round. I typically roast four pieces of chicken at a time so I have enough for leftovers.
The process is straightforward. Preheat your oven to 350, or 375 if you’re hungry. Use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the meat of the breast, or if you prefer, cut small incisions into the meat to create pockets for your garlic and herbs. The goal is to get slivers of raw garlic and fresh rosemary right up next to the skin. I typically use about two cloves of garlic and one stem of rosemary per chicken breast, but that’s just my preference. Then generously season the chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top to help the skin brown and the meat stay moist. Roasting times depend on how much meat you’re roasting, so I rely on a meat thermometer for tender, juicy chicken. Mine is often ready to eat in 30-45 minutes. Even though it takes some time to roast, it takes very little time or effort in the kitchen. If you’re not a fan of rosemary, there are a lot of tried-and-true delicious combinations for roast chicken. For this week’s version I used up some of the three-herb butter I had frozen after Thanksgiving. What flavorful butter! It sank into the meat and I could taste it with every bite.
When it goes in the oven I prepare my sides. Sometimes I throw a garnet yam wrapped in foil in the oven on a rack below the chicken. Other times I prepare some rice cooked in chicken broth and 1 TBSP of butter, tossed with fresh parsley just before serving. In the summer I was steaming baby potatoes and tossing them with some butter, salt, pepper, and fresh chives from the garden. Broccoli and green beans are delicious steamed and easy to prepare. They cook so quickly that sometimes I wait for my chicken to come out of the oven before I start steaming the vegetables, which also gives the meat a few minutes to rest. All told this meal can take me as little as 15 minutes of “active time” in the kitchen. It’s healthy, it’s hearty, and it’s hard to mess up. Perfect for a weeknight meal!