Recipes - from Karen England - Edgehill Herb Farm

Roast Chicken Bar-None Part I


I know that buying an already roasted chicken at your grocery or big box store is a convenience, and many times, it is a very inexpensive convenience to boot, but beware! Cheap convenience is not all it is cracked up to be. In my opinion, you are not getting your money’s worth, especially since, with very little effort, you can roast the chicken yourself and, if you follow my advice, recoup any extra money you spend doing it. Over the next few blogs I am going to try my darndest to get you, the world at large, to roast a chicken- I want you to see, to smell, to taste & savor what you have been missing by letting the grocery store roast it for you.   

The first reason to roast your own chicken is that you can and most definitely, you should buy a better quality chicken than the grocery store uses for roasting. Here’s a sobering thought –have you noticed that the body shape of our young female population is changing? Speculation is that this is due, in no small part, to the hormones in the chicken, beef and dairy our children are eating. A friend who works for a major Bra manufacturer says that when a young girl comes in to be fitted for a "D" cup bra at the age of 12, the saying among her co-workers is "She eats a lot of chicken!" The hormones used in these animals in order to make them mature faster, produce more eggs or milk, etc… seem to be having a similar effect on the developing young people eating them, girls especially. (One 1998 study entitled Survey of hormonal levels in meat and poultry sold in Alexandria, Egypt appearing in Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal concluded "Data on residue levels obtained from these results clearly indicate that anabolic agents in beef and chicken entail a special risk to public health" and suggested that cooking chicken by "boiling without skin is recommended to reduce the consumer’s intake of hormonal residues". Read the study for yourself It is not necessary to take the study’s advice if you purchase organic chicken. The already roasted chickens you have been buying at the market are not organic, they are not even free-range, and they are certainly not antibiotic or hormone free & they are cheap for this reason.

Second, many of the seasonings used in the grocery store bird are less than healthy. The birds are brined, injected with flavor enhancers, massive amounts salt, m.s.g. (monosodium glutamate), and who knows what else, trying to make a tasteless, over processed, overcooked product palatable. The flavor of a high quality organic, free-range chicken needs no enhancement! You are in control of the amount of salt and eliminate all the nasty chemicals,

Third, you get to smell the chicken as it roasts! Please, do not discount this reason. The fragrance is comfort itself. The aroma of a whole chicken as it roasts in your home is an important part of appetite and the meal. Food prepared outside the home removes this important part of the whole experience. Homes should smell of good wholesome food, eliciting healthy appetites & enveloping home comforts. I cannot stress to you enough how fast food and eating-out has diminished this very important part of home life.  

Have I convinced you? I look forward to your comments.

In the next blog, I will give you the shopping list and basic recipe with variations. Then in the blogs following I will be giving recipes and strategies for using up every bit of the goodness a roast chicken has to offer – things like homemade chicken stock from the bones and dishes from the leftover meat and stock -soups, enchiladas, pizza, chicken salad sandwiches, and more. I hope that this will change your kitchen life…


  • Lora

    Karen,Excellent post! You have summed up beautifully one of the reasons I enjoy doing Pampered Chef! I LOVE to teach the twenty somethings how to cook from scratch … and the 30 minute roasted chicken I do in the Deep Covered Baker, while not as traditional as yours, is so good and they can do it after work any night of the week almost as fast as they can stop and buy one from the store. It does fill the house with almost as much aroma, and while not my first choice to roast a chicken, it certainly helps them understand they can work full time and still have great home cooked meals! Thanks Karen

  • Kate

    Karen,I agree with all you have said. There is NOTHING like the aroma of a roasting chicken!! I love to use kosher salt, coarse ground pepper and rosemary……and sometimes a touch of sage. We are a tribe of 2 and can only eat less than 1/2 of the chicken the day it\’s roasted …so I always make something yummy on day two. Chicken salad with grapes and walnuts and apple….or maybe chicken enchiladas with sour cream and a green sauce. And there\’s nothing like homemade chicken stock or broth.Thanks for such an interesting blog. I look forward to being a "regular".Ciao, Kate

  • Unknown

    Hey there Cousin! This is Brigid (Freda\’s daughter) from Delaware. I loved reading your article on roasting your own chicken. I was tickled pink that my cousin in the herb business is talking about chickens (which is my business). I roast my own chickens, and being an extension poultry specialist, I can agree that you most certainly have more control over the salt and flavorings. I just use a commercial herb mix and a tad of salt. Karen, I was glad to see you in the photos that you posted. I have not seen you since Aunt Maddie (sp?) died or perhaps since Cathey\’s wedding (I was so little and there were so many people there, I do not recall if you attended). I hope that all is well with you! Happy Roasting! (next you should try brining with your own herbs)!

  • Karen

    Dear Kernest,This is a belated reply to your Blob blog in July. We never did get the recipe for the frozen blobs and leftover yummies that Darina made into that frozen dessert. Do you have the recipe for the whole thing?Love ya, Mumsy, aka Mern, Driving Miss Mernie.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.