Dinner and Downton

Every weekend this January, I have had the privilege of hosting a dinner-and-a-movie party with some of my dear friends. The “dinner” is usually a mish-mash of appetizers (usually involving cheese plates) and drinks, and the “movie” is America’s current anglo-obsession: Downton Abbey. This last week however, I wanted to try making something a bit more challenging…

So, I decided to roast a chicken—just for kicks—and I am happy to say that it was DELISH!

Here is the recipe that I created. I have tried my best to include what I think are good measurements for each seasoning, but you can play around with it to enhance your preferences/taste palette. And I’ll tell you this little secret: if you have the time (i.e. 3 hours) it is worth it to roast this as slow as possible. It makes for a tantalizing, juicy, flavor-packed dinner.


  • 1 whole, raw chicken
  • 1/2 tsp French Thyme
  • 1 tsp Rosemary
  • 2 T Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 200* (or as low as it goes…see notes below)
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry a whole chicken, making sure to clean cavity and remove giblets.Raw Chicken
  3. With a pastry brush, lightly cover entire chicken with olive oil
  4. Sprinkle French Thyme, Rosemary, Salt and Pepper, seasoning generously
  5. Zest the lemon and sprinkle the shavings over chicken
  6. Quarter the lemon, using the juice from one quarter to spritz top and sides of chicken. Stuff remaining lemon wedges inside chicken, adding any more spices to taste
  7. Tuck the flesh into the cavity and tie legs tightly together with cotton twine
  8. Place in oven and cook until inner thigh temperature reaches 160*

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A few notes on time/temperature:

I have watched other people roast chicken, researched it, and experimented with it myself. I can tell you that the time it takes is directly related to the temperature BUT the higher the temperature, the faster the chicken will burn, and potentially not cook through properly. Roasting a chicken is not a time-efficient activity, so don’t do it unless you can spare a couple of hours. I have roasted at 350* for approximately one hour, but I had to cover the chicken with a foil tent to avoid burning the wings/thighs. The slower you do this, the better 🙂

***Also, if you want to make a delicious side for this meal, pan-fried Red Potatoes are perfect. I’ve basically been living on these all winter. They make for a marvelous comfort food because they’re easy to make and relatively healthy. Plus, the crunch is so delightful!


  • Red potatoes, sliced thin
  • Olive oil (about 1/2 inch—remember, you’re frying these)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 Garlic clove (or 1 tsp powder)
  • 1 tsp Rosemary


  1. Heat pan on high (preferably cast iron if you have one)
  2. Pour enough olive oil to cover bottom of pan (1/2 inch or so)
  3. Add salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary to oil
  4. Slice potatoes, as thinly as possible
  5. Place potatoes in pan, careful not to splatter and burn yourself
  6. Stir until potatoes are coated in seasonings, then let sit for a few minutes
  7. Stir again, making sure to rotate browned/raw potatoes evenly, add more oil if necessary, and let sit a few more minutes**
  8. After desired done-ness (I like mine super dark and crunchy, but not burned), pull from pan and serve hot! Mmmmm

**The trick with this particular style of frying is the sitting part. The potatoes get nice and crispy if you don’t stir them around too much. Be patient, just making sure that the potatoes are cooking evenly. You won’t regret it.

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