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toby ziegler’s roasted chicken

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chicken So. I’m in mourning, guys. We watched the series finale of The West Wing this week. If you haven’t been keeping up with my WW obsession on Twitter, then let me tell you—it changed my life. Seriously. Craig and I started watching it (for the first time!) at the beginning of the summer and have been steadily consuming one (or more) episodes a night ever since. The summer of 2013 will forever been known as the Summer of West Wing in our house. There are very few television shows that I can say I truly love, and this was one of them. I really have no idea what to do with myself now. I am (still!) so invested in all the characters and stories. I really don’t want it to be over. I’m not sure I can ever watch another TV show ever again. So I did what any rational person would do in this situation—I made a chicken to drown my sorrows. chicken This is a 100% spoiler free post (to preserve the amazingness of the show for those of you that haven’t watched it), but I will say that this chicken recipe is directly from the bearded mouth of Mr. Tobias Zachary Ziegler. During one of the final episodes of the series, Toby tells C.J. how he roasts a perfect chicken. In fact, his entire quoted recipe is: Stick a lemon up it and throw on some rosemary. A little salt. Sounds good to me.

lemon rosemary

I’ve roasted a zillion chickens in my life and usually I let the bird bake naked (maybe with a little salt and pepper), but I’ve also done my fair share of chicken flavoring with lemons, oranges, onions, garlic, herbs and spices, too. We roast a chicken ’round here once ever few weeks and I have to say, the simplicity of The Bearded One’s three sentence recipe resulted in some really delicious bird. So often I think flavorings in a small chicken can overpower the deliciousness that is chicken, but not Toby’s chicken. Toby’s chicken rocked. If you’ve never roasted a chicken before, please don’t fear, it is quite possibly one of the easiest (and most impressive!) dishes that you can make. It’s literally two minutes of work followed by…well…that’s it. After it’s in the oven, you’re pretty much finished. We like to roast chickens on days when the schedule is packed. Throw in some root veggies in the roasting pan and you’ve got the easiest dinner on the planet. We used our carrots, onions, potatoes and chanterelle mushrooms. Yum! chicken And while roasted chicken itself is delicious, we love roasting chickens for leftovers! Usually I’ll tear up the leftover meat and make it into a mean chicken salad for lunches and then simmer the bones for stock. Three meals, one bird. Good call, Toby. Enjoy!

toby ziegler's roasted chicken

toby ziegler's roasted chicken

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 roasting chicken
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place a roasting rack in a roasting pan, or rest a cooling rack on a baking sheet or large baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Remove any giblets from the chicken (if there are any) and wash the bird inside and out, pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Place the chicken, breast-side-down on the prepared pan. Place the lemon halves and rosemary sprigs into the chicken cavity. Sprinkle salt over the chicken.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 160° when inserted in multiple fleshy parts of the chicken and all juices run clear. Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

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What’s your absolute, without a doubt, favorite TV show ever?

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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15 Responses
  1. I love TWW so much. In my early to mid-20s when it was first run, we had a group if friends who got together weekly to watch it. Those are some of my favorite.memories. The only other show that comes close for me is Friday Night Lights.

    Question on the veggies, because they’re not mentioned in the recipe: did you put them in the roasting pan at the beginning and leave them in the whole time? Seasoning? Any oil, or do the chicken drippings take care of that?

    1. Cassie

      I did a whole bunch of nothing to the veggies. Ha! I just threw them in with the chicken at the beginning and the chicken drippings gave them a nice flavor. I did add a touch of salt to them once they were on my plate.

  2. I just finished watching the first 4 seasons of Fringe and literally yelled in frustration when I realized Netflix didn’t have season 5. I am quite tempted to go through and watch it a second time. West Wing is in the cue now, though. 🙂

    1. I hit submit too soon. 😛 I roast a chicken at least one a month, if not more because it *is* so incredibly simple and usually yields leftovers. I sometimes go a more involved route, like Sunday will be a citrus marinated whole bird, but it’s often just a simpler one like this. If I just need the meat to use in a different recipe or for pulled chicken, I make it the slow cooker. It literally falls to pieces which makes cleaning it a snap!

  3. Sam

    Oh god, this episode positively breaks my heart. Thanks for recreating Tobus’ chicken recipe, I’ll have to make it for my roommate as she approaches the end of the series.

  4. I went into mourning after The Office aired its last season… I felt like I knew each of those characters personally and cried like I had lost a loved one. It’s was a little crazy…. I think I even shocked myself with my reaction. Haha. It’s a show for me that never gets old.

    1. Cassie

      We JUST started The Office last night. I’m having a hard time getting into it. I think part of it is that it’s still too soon after I left my office job. It’s giving me flashbacks!

  5. lanetria Rios

    The Walking Dead! omg I cant wait for it to come back on in October, its killing me. Me and my husband dont watch TV but we got a glimpse of it over a friends house and we were hooked. We ordered all the episodes on Netflix in about 2 weeks we watched every single episode ( we turned into zombies lol)Im not sure how we are going to cope only watching one episode a week when it comes back on, pray for us lol!!!!

  6. The West Wing, without a doubt, although I also love Castle and White Collar, and I like Newsroom because it’s another Sorkin walk-and-talk show 🙂

    Might have to make Toby’s chicken soon in homage.

  7. Kristy

    You should try “House of Cards” it is a great politcal show and my husband and I devour the whole first season in less the 2 weeks. Kevin Spacey is amazing in it, give it a try i suspect you will both enjoy.

  8. What a wonderful, easy meal! This definitely falls into the “finger lickin’ good” category for me. I followed the directions exactly and had no problems at all making this. I served it with basmati rice, green beans and baby corn. There was enough leftover glaze from the chicken to drizzle over the rice. Next I plan to try this with chicken wings. Thanks Tomoko and Toshiko for a truly outstanding recipe 🙂 

  9. I made this in my crock pot. I doubled the liquid ingredients and used five drumsticks, 8 boneless, skinless thighs and 4 boneless, skinless breasts cut in 3 pieces. I cooked it on low for just under 4 hours. After removing the meat I poured the liquid into a saucepan and reduced it to half then served the chicken and sauce with texmati rice 

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