Looking for an impressive, but simple-to-make centerpiece for a timeless home cooked meal? Look no farther than this moist whole baked chicken infused with the flavors of fresh basil, garlic and onion. This is an elegant and contemporary take on a classic American staple that takes only minutes to prepare.
The approach I use ensures juicy, flavorful meat complimented by beautifully browned crispy skin. Adding a bit of water to the baking dish and partially covering the chicken with foil delivers wonderfully moist meat without turning the skin soggy. With the aromatics added to the chicken and water, a rich aroma permeates the meat. You and your family or guests will savor this melt-in-your-mouth delicacy.
- 1 whole fresh chicken (neck and giblets removed)
- 1 to 2 cups water
- 1 small sweet or yellow onion, slivered thinly
- 4 to 6 cloves of fresh chopped garlic, or 1 to 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 5 to 10 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
**Amounts are suggestions only; please season generously, according to your taste.
- Set oven to preheat at 375°F and place rack in the lower middle part of the oven.
- Place the chicken on a cutting board and pat it dry with paper towels. Discard the neck and giblets if present and cut off any extra skin or fat hanging around the body cavity.
- Gently work half of the garlic, several slivered onion slices and half of the fresh basil leaves under the skin of the chicken breast.
- Drizzle the oil on top of the skin and rub it to cover the whole chicken evenly.
- Season the skin generously with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and dried basil. Finish by sprinkling on the remaining fresh chopped basil leaves.
- Place the chicken breast-side up in a cast-iron skillet, roasting pan or baking dish.
- Pour 1 to 2 cups of water in the bottom of the baking dish and arrange the rest of the garlic and onion around the chicken in the water.
- Create a loose canopy of foil to cover the chicken and bake with foil covering for 1.5 hours at 375°F. Be sure to roast the chicken until the juices run clear and a thermometer inserted into the inner thigh (but not touching the bone) registers 165°F.
- After the initial roasting, uncover the chicken and place back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, now set to 425°F. Keep a close eye on your chicken and remove it when it is golden brown. If your oven runs hot, you may want to consider using a lower temperature, such as 400°F for this step.
- Remove the chicken and transfer to a serving platter or cutting board for carving.