I don't roast whole chickens these days because it's hard to get much flavor from them without any salt. Smaller pieces have more surface area and take on more flavor from spice rubs so these days we tend to roast cut-up pieces, and my favorite is thighs. They're easy to buy and cook and don't dry out as easily as chicken breasts. Instead of pan-searing and then baking, I put these straight in a 425°F oven and roast them until they're done. Then just before serving, I crisp them in a skillet with a little butter, garlic and thyme.
Servings: 5-6 bone-in thighs Sodium: 86 mg per 4 ounce serving Time: 4 hours or overnight for marinating, 45 minutes to cook
2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp dried ground sage
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp sugar
4 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
1 Tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
4-5 springs thyme, cut into 1-inch pieces
1) In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons oil with 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, ground mustard, dried sage, black pepper, and sugar. Rub the spice mix into the chicken and let marinate for anywhere from 4 hours to overnight.
2) Preheat oven to 425°F. Place chicken skin side up on a foil-lined roasting pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperate of 160°F.
3) Just before you're ready to serve, heat butter, 2 tablespoons oil, minced fresh garlic, and springs of thyme in a large 12-inch skillet on medium-high heat. Cook the chicken about 2-3 minutes on each side to crisp the skin and edges. Serve hot.
You can skip this last step and just serve straight from the oven but I think it adds a nice touch of flavor and texture to the chicken. Without salt, most of the flavor is going to come from the crispy edges and spices on the surface of the meat. This last step also allows you to roast your chicken in advance, and then heat it up quickly before serving.