Roast Chicken with Herbs

Serves 6 to 8
Every culture and family had their own recipe for roast chicken. Since this is a weekly meal in our home, I always make two chickens at once, so I'm sure to have plenty for any last-minute guests or leftovers for sandwiches the next day. Invest in the best, most naturally raised chicken possible, as it will reflect the final taste. Anyone who's eaten the chicken and eggs in Italy knows, they still manage to produce and sell tasty well-fed chickens.


  • 4 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, or 2 tablespoons dried
  • 6 to 8 fresh sage leaves, depending on size, or 3 to 4 dried
  • 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 2 lemons, juiced (8 tablespoons), rinds reserved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (3-pound) whole chickens


  1. Place the rosemary, sage, marjoram, thyme, chives, bay leaves, and caraway on a chopping board. Chop everything together to achieve a uniform texture. In a small bowl, combine the herbs with 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Set aside.
  2. Clean the birds very thoroughly inside and out and dry all over with paper towels. Pour 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice over each chicken and inside the cavity. Rub the herb mixture all over the inside and outside of both birds. Place the reserved lemon rinds inside the cavities. Let the birds marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 12.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper over both birds. Place the birds, breast side down, side by side, in opposite directions on an oiled rack over a roasting pan. Cook for 30 minutes, then turn the chickens breast side up and reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Cook an additional 30 to 40 minutes or until the skin is golden, juices run clear, and the internal temperature is 160 degrees. Allow the birds to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving and serving.
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