This flavorful roasted chicken with rosemary and thyme, served with baguette croutons and a simple salad, is adapted from the wonderful children's cookbook Fanny at Chez Panisse by Alice Waters. It makes a great dinner party and is fun to cook with kids.
Why we love this recipe
We love the cozy simplicity of a good chicken dinner, and also the limitless ways to make it special. This version may be based on a recipe from a cookbook for children, but it really hits the sweet spot between easy, whimsical comfort food and sophisticated, nuanced flavor.
I first published this recipe way back in January, 2010, after my then-kindergartner and I had made it together. Back then, the wonderful result was almost an afterthought, since the process of cooking together — anticipating, planning, shopping, chopping, roasting and serving — was the main event of the day. I still think of that happy time whenever I make this meal.
Over the years, I've updated the post for clarity and tweaked the recipe a few times. This is the version that makes us happiest. I hope you'll love it, too.
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make this recipe. For visual ease, I've divided it into what you'll use for the chicken and what you'll use to make the dressing, gravy, and sides.
For the chicken
- You can make this recipe with either one or two whole chickens, depending on the size of your crowd. The base recipe calls for two. I like to make it this way regardless, because leftovers are fantastic and highly versatile. See the section below for my favorite sources for organic chicken.
- For the bangin herb rub, you'll use fresh rosemary and thyme, plenty of garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- For the dressing, you'll whisk together a minced shallot, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
- Use one or two baguettes depending on the size of your crowd.
- Any kind of soft lettuce or mixed greens will work well.
- To make a fabulous pan gravy, you'll simply whisk flour into the pan drippings, then add chicken broth and simmer until thickened.
Our favorite sources for meat
For years, I've been sourcing our meat from Butcher Box. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.
More recently, we've also become big fans of Cooks Venture for chicken.
How to make it
Here's an overview of what you'll do to make a beautiful dinner of roasted chicken with rosemary and thyme. This recipe has several components, but none of them are hard to do — and it makes a whole meal. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.
- First you'll make a gorgeous herb paste for the chicken. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can use a chef's knife.
- Spread the herbs all over the chicken and roast until done, turning the chicken over every 20 minutes for even cooking if you like.
- Make the salad dressing, slice the baguette, and brush a little bit of the dressing onto each slice.
- Let the chicken rest before carving. During that time you'll toast the baguette and make the gravy. Plate and serve.
Expert tips and FAQs
This technique is recommended by Alice Waters. I tend to do it when making this recipe, because it's Alice Waters. I never do it when roasting chickens otherwise, and I don't experience any problems with even cooking. It's really up to you.
Whether for a dinner party or family meal, it's worth cooking this recipe shortly before serving so all the components will be at their best on the first night.
After that, the sky's the limit. Leftover chicken keeps for a week in an airtight container in the fridge and is wonderful reheated and served in the same way, or remixed into virtually any dish, from tacos to chicken salad.
Store leftover dressing and gravy the same way, and croutons at room temperature in a paper or plastic bag for a day or two.
More favorite roast chicken recipes
- Old fashioned roast chicken recipe
- Roast chicken and potatoes with all the best things
- Marinated spatchcock chicken in a cast iron skillet
For the chicken
- 2 whole chickens, 3 to 4 pounds (1360 to 1815 grams) each
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary needles
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
For the dressing
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
For the gravy
- ¼ cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 cups (475 ml) chicken broth
- 2 baguettes, sliced
- Mixed greens
- Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the center. Remove any giblets and pat chickens dry with paper towels. Set the chickens on a rack in a large roasting pan, breast side up, and cut away and discard the two pockets of fat tucked just inside the opening to each chicken’s cavity.
- Combine the rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a mortar, and smash it all into a paste with the pestle. (Alternatively, use the side of a chef’s knife to smash it all together.)
- Divide the paste between the two chickens and rub it all over the skin.
- Roast the chicken for 20 minutes with the breast side up. Then flip it and cook 20 minutes more, breast side down. Turn it over again and cook for an additional 20 minutes, breast side up. For a smaller chicken, this may be all the time you need. If it’s closer to 4 pounds, you’ll need an additional 20 or so minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven when the juices run clear and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165° F.
- While the chicken roasts, make the dressing. Whisk together the shallot, vinegar, salt, and pepper and let sit for a few minutes. Then whisk in the olive oil in a slow stream to emulsify.
- Lay the baguette slices in a single layer on a sheet pan or two and brush each with a little bit of the dressing.
- When the chickens are cooked, let them rest on a cutting board, tented with foil, for 15 minutes.
- During this time, slide the baguette slices into the oven and toast for 10 minutes.
- While the chickens rest, set the roasting pan over medium-high heat on a burner (or two) on the stovetop. Whisk the flour into the pan drippings to form a paste. Then pour in the stock and whisk until there are no lumps. Simmer briskly for 5 to 10 minutes, lowering heat as necessary, until gravy is as thick as you like.
- To serve, place some greens on each plate, arrange a piece of chicken and a few baguette slices on top, and drizzle as liberally as you like with both dressing and gravy.
- This big recipe is perfect for a casual dinner party or to feed a small family two or three times throughout the week. If you're spacing it out, buy the second baguette on the day you plan to serve it.
- Whether for a dinner party or family meal, it's worth cooking this recipe shortly before serving so all the components will be at their best on the first night.
- After that, the sky's the limit. Leftover chicken keeps for a week in an airtight container in the fridge and is wonderful reheated and served in the same way, or remixed into virtually any dish, from tacos to chicken salad. Store leftover dressing and gravy the same way, and croutons at room temperature in a paper or plastic bag for a day or two.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 590Total Fat: 22.7gCarbohydrates: 28.6gFiber: 3gProtein: 65.9g