Thursday, January 22, 2009

Orange-Scented Roast Chicken

I have never been satisfied roasting a chicken until last week. It always seemed to come out bland or only some parts had flavor. That's when I came up with this recipe. The juices from the orange keep the bird very moist and infuses flavor throughout. I'm notorious for making something up only to forget how I made it. I didn't think I'd forget this one, but then after a few days I started wondering about quantities (not like I really paid attention the first time). So I made it again tonight to make sure it could be reproduced. I am pleased to announce that I was able to make it again and share it with you. This time, I actually doubled the recipe and roasted two chickens at a time. It takes the same amount of heat so I figured I'd make the most of it. You can either serve to a large group, give away one of the birds, or pull off and freeze leftover chicken for other uses.

Orange-Scented Roast Chicken

1 4-5 lb Chicken
1 Orange
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Red Onion, minced
2 tsp dried sage, plus extra sprigs to put in the cavity (I used dried sage from my garden. You can use other types, but adjust accordingly: fresh=more, powder=less)
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp orange zest (can use peel from orange above)
1/2 tsp kosher salt (use 1/4 tsp if using regular salt)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
After removing the giblets in the body cavity, rinse chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut orange into quarters. Grate enough orange peel to make 1/4 tsp orange zest. In the body cavity, place two orange quarters, 1 tsp minced onion and extra sage sprigs. Slice the other two quarters and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients, (from sage to olive oil). Carefully loosen the skin underneath the chicken breast and drumsticks, and apply the sage rub. Insert orange slices under the breast skin.

Place chicken in a roasting pan breast side up. (If you want to dress the chicken i.e. tie the drumsticks and tuck the wings, this would be the time to do it. I skip that step)

Bake at 400 degrees for about 1hr, or until a thermometer in the meaty part of the thigh registers 180 degrees. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let stand 10 minutes.

Note: Discard the orange and sage sprigs. You can use the oranges as a garnish, but they have an unpleasant bitter flavor if you try to eat it.

If you also want to make gravy...
I'm not very good at giving directions on how to make gravy. For gravy basics, you might want to read this description from

But this is what I did (kind of):

I simmered the giblets in chicken broth. Then I skimmed some of the oil from the drippings in the roasting pan (after removing the bird), then made a roux by adding 1-2 Tbsp flour to the drippings. I put my roasting pan directly over two stove burners on med/low heat (Be sure you can do this with your pan. I don't think this would work for glass or aluminum pans). I cooked the roux for a minute or so, scraping the pan to get the flavorful bits (and it makes for easier cleanup too), until thickened. I then added the giblet broth to the roux and let it thicken some more. Then I put it in a serving container.


  1. MMM looks good, but I don't do whole chickens, I just can't do it, I might faint as I am pulling the gizzards out, eww.

    Even the lima beans look yummy=)

  2. Hey Donna,
    I understand your squeamish. That's what your son is for! lol!

    Cooking whole chickens have been inconvenient for the most part for me. Especially because I couldn't get it to taste good. I wonder if it would work with split chicken breasts. Would you do that?

    Well, the lima beans are nothing special. My kids even like them frozen. Just yesterday someone was reading a book where the kid in it mentions he hates lima beans so I prayed that statement would go right over their heads :-)