Roasting an Organic Whole Chicken

Relay Foods Organic Roasted Chicken

So many things can be done with roasted chicken — not just from the initial meal but the meals you can create with the leftovers afterwards! With back to school time right around the corner I will be focusing the next series of posts on making recipes that multi-function as a hearty dinner and can also be transformed into simple, delicious lunch ideas for the week ahead.

For this one, once you get your chicken from Relay Foods the process is really quite simple.

Ingredients for Thyme Lemon Roasted Chicken

First, we are dealing with raw chicken here, so all of your ingredients should be out and within arms’ reach.


  • 1 whole (I prefer organic) chicken, about 4 pounds
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • Fresh Thyme sprigs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 feet of kitchen twine

If your chicken is frozen it will typically take 2 days to thaw in a refrigerator. Once thawed, rinse the chicken inside and out, removing the bag inside the cavity (this can be reserved for stock or gravy). Pat the chicken so that it is very dry on the outside. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (we want it hot) with the rack in the lower third of the oven.

Salt and Pepper

Salt and pepper the inside cavity of your bird generously.

Adding the Thyme

With the chicken laying down as pictured above you can run your finger between the skin and the breast to form a little pocket. I tuck the fresh thyme right up under the skin for the roasting process — doing so adds such a savory essence to the flavor of the chicken.

Stuffing the Chicken

Stuff the cavity with lemon and then the process that might take a little practice is trussing the chicken. You can certainly roast the chicken without this step, but trussing allows for all of the pieces of the chicken to hold closely together and cook evenly. If you sit a chicken down flat right out of the package, the legs and wings kind of fall to the side.

Start by tying the legs together then bring the string around to the front of the chicken and wrap them around the wings. Wrap back around to legs and cinch the string tying a knot. Cut off the excess string.

Trussing a Chicken

Sprinkle the breast of the chicken with 2 tablespoons of coarse salt. Place the chicken on a roasting rack and place in a pan. The chicken should not cook directly on the surface of a pan. Cook uncovered in the oven for 50-60 minutes. Rotate half way through the cooking process and that’s it!

Organic Roasted Chicken

This method will allow for a crispy skin and moist chicken. Any leftover chicken can be used for the perfect school lunch in the up and coming week. Stay tuned here on the Relay blog for the ultimate Back To School Chicken Salad recipe!


Tim Vidra E.A.T.

Virginia based food writer, Tim Vidra, authors the blog E.A.T. where he advocates the principles behind supporting a sustainable food system. Tim’s mission is in sharing his passion for the preparation and enjoyment of food in a way that everyone from beginners to long time foodies can get involved in. His ties to food are deep rooted — he fondly recalls his Hungarian grandmother citing “If you don’t kill it, pluck it or grow it, I’m not eating it” as he spent hours with her in their backyard garden. Now living in the city, Tim tries to maintain these basic principles as he tackles building his own lush urban garden. His recipes and advice have been featured across food publications and he’s led series’ of cooking demos and classes throughout the Richmond area. Learn more about Tim via E.A.T. and follow him on Twitter @TimVidraEats.

  1. Yay for roast chicken! Just wanted to mention for those busy families out there an idea for an easy follow up…

    While my chicken is roasting I put a pot of water with a straining basket in it (the kind typically used for pasta) on the stove. Throw in an onion, cilantro stems, a handfull of baby carrots, a dried chili, and whatever else suits me that day. When the chicken is done, turn the pot on. Put the carcass and giblets in the water, boil, reduce, and cover for several hours. Pull the strainer out…discard everything but the liquid, and there you have it… a pot of AMAZING chicken stock.

    If you want to go on to an awesome tortialla soup for the next day (my family does this weekly… my 4 year old son calls it his favorite soup)… put some dried chili, onion, garlic, and tomatoes to saute until the liquid is reduced (about 30 minutes), put that in a blender with a ladle full of broth. Add everything to the rest of the broth, and let it simmer for a while.

    Serve with a dallop of greek yogurt, some crushed tortialla chips, sliced avocado, green onion, and cilantro. (and hot sauce, of course) Yum!

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About Relay Foods

Relay Foods is the healthy online grocery store. We make shopping for quality, healthy, and sustainable groceries simple and easy. Shop from your computer or mobile phone and receive your groceries the next day! Relay Foods currently serves customers in Central Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, and North Carolina’s Triangle region.