For years I’ve been buying rock salt (otherwise known as ice cream salt) in bulk. To make ice cream, you ask? Ha! My kids wish. Nope. To make roast chicken! Seriously. Stick with me here.
This recipe was passed on to me by my Aunt Marilyn who got it from a friend of hers who happens to be an amazing Italian cook. You might think that roasting a whole chicken on a bed of rock salt would be asking for a big, salty problem. But you would be wrong, no offense. Instead, the rock salt base locks in the moisture and flavor to create the most juicy, tender, tastiest chicken. Ever.
When you consider the thousands upon thousands of recipes that call for cooked, shredded chicken, I wouldn’t blame you if you are skimming the rest of this long-winded post so you can get in the kitchen and make this pronto. Plus, you can save the bones (I prefer not to say carcass because I just don’t like that word and dang it, you just made me say it) and make your own chicken stock to freeze for later use.
I make this recipe frequently for Sunday dinner and serve it with cheesy potatoes, rolls, a green salad and steamed veggie. However, if I’m being completely honest, 5.5 times out of 10 when I make this, I scrap the whole nice-dinner theme and we load the tender chicken onto rolls with mustard and sharp cheddar cheese and stuff our faces that way. Embrace the rock salt and make this chicken. No matter how you use it, you are bound to fall in love.
P.S. In an effort to avoid cleaning my toilets, organizing the chaos that exists underneath all our beds and folding the clothes in the dryer, I reorganized my Pinterest food boards instead. For a long time I’ve only had one food board (shocking, I know) but I have caved and reorganized it into several different boards to make my menu planning life easier (and subsequently deleted the old board). I still have my Made It…Loved It board (some of those get posted, some don’t) and my favorite Mel’s Kitchen Cafe Favorites, too. Happy pinning!
Note: You can freeze the cooked and cooled chicken in resealable freezer bags for 1-2 months. Here is a great list of recipes that use cooked, shredded chicken - or just enjoy this chicken on it's own with a few delicious sides.
- 1 whole chicken
- 4 pound box rock salt (also called ice cream salt)
- 1 lemon
- 3-4 sprigs parsley
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a 9X13-inch pan with foil for easy cleanup and pour the rock salt into the pan, evening it into a thick, smooth layer. Remove and discard anything (like neck, gizzards, etc.) from inside the chicken, if included, and rinse the chicken inside and out, draining thoroughly. Generously salt and pepper the inside and outside of the chicken. With a fork, poke holes all over the lemon. Put the lemon, parsley and garlic into the cavity of the chicken. Secure the chicken closed with a toothpick or two. Place the chicken on the bed of salt.
- Bake for 40 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken over and bake for another 40-50 minutes until cooked through (the chicken should register 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer at the thickest part of the chicken breast).