A Recipe: Minimalist Roast Chicken

Easy roast chicken, using the most minimal of ingredients and techniques, has found its way into our kitchen more than once in the past month.  When time is limited, as it has been for our family lately, nourishing foods become ever more important, and while we strive our best to eat well and to celebrate the bounty of summer, keeping time and effort to a minimum is key.  So we opt for easy recipes and simple ingredients that take little time to prepare.  We love our roast chickens: Moroccan-spiced roast chicken, roast chicken with prosciutto and, of course, roast chicken with fresh herbs, but it’s this easy roast chicken that we keep coming back to time and time again.  It requires such little effort, but provides so much satisfaction and nourishment (wanna skip straight to the recipe?)

For this easy roast chicken, we use the most minimal of ingredients: just olive oil, salt and pepper and a bit of stock or wine.  When so few ingredients are used, it’s essential that those ingredients you do use are of the best quality you can afford.  A good pasture-raised chicken can average between $12 and $25, and while the initial price point might make you balk – especially if you’re used to the prices of conventionally raised birds which often sell for as little as $.79 / pound at the local grocer.

Buy a pasture-raised bird.

Pasture-raised chickens are raised outdoors with free access to a natural diet of bugs, grubs and sprouts.  Fresh water, clean air and an optimal diet ensure that their meat is richer in nutrients – particularly fat soluble vitamins like vitamin E and vitamin A.  Moreover, the flavor of the birds is richer and more pronounced than that of conventionally raised birds and, when making an easy roast chicken of only the simplest ingredients, the flavor of a pasture-raised bird can truly make the dish.

The active preparation time in making an easy roast chicken is likewise, minimal.  Pasture-raised birds, because they’re more active than conventionally raised birds that our confined to battery cages or overcrowded chicken houses, tend to have tougher meat.  For this reason, pasture-raised birds are best suited to long and slow cooking methods.  While slow-roasting a chicken at low temperatures before increasing the heat to achieve that lovely golden-colored skin may take extra cooking time, it does not require additional active preparation time. So make this easy roast chicken when you know you’ll be at home with plenty of time to allow the bird to slowly cook through, but still wish to put minimal effort into your supper.

roast chicken with olive oil salt and pepper

Easy Roast Chicken

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Easy Roast Chicken

Dressing a pasture-raised bird with minimal ingredients enables its rich flavor to shine. Slow-roasting ensures that the bird is fall-apart tender. Good food takes good time and while the hours you spend tenderly slow-roasting the bird are long, the active time in the kitchen is minimal.


  • 1 (4-pound) pasture-raised chicken
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined extra virgin olive oil (buy organic olive oil here)
  • dash unrefined sea salt
  • dash ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or white wine


  1. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry before trussing it with 100% cotton cooking twine.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle the bird generously with unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Place the trussed and dressed chicken into a clay baker or baking dish, adding 1/2 cup stock or white wine to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Turn oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and roast the chicken, covered, for about three hours.
  5. Increase the heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and continue roasting for about thirty to forty-five minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow the bird to rest five to ten minutes before carving and serving.
  7. Save the chicken’s frame to make roast chicken stock.