My Roasted Chicken Phase

I’ve always known I like to eat things in phases. I remember, for instance, the first time I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at my neighbor’s house; fireworks were going off in my mouth — sweet and salty fireworks. I was only seven, maybe eight at the time, but I was convinced that I could eat pb&j’s for the rest of my life and be very happy. We didn’t have pb&j at my house. The closest thing we had was Dibis wa Tahini (دبس و طحينة), which is essentially carob molasses mixed with tahini sauce, served with warm pita bread for dunking. It was good; a less glamorous, slightly messier version of a pb&j, but still not the same. I’ll have to blog about this sometime.

I’ve gotten better about changing things up. My food blog definitely helps with this, but I still find myself cooking favorites every now and then. Lately, it’s been this chicken. It’s not just any chicken, it’s roasted chicken. Actually, it’s roasted chicken that’s been smothered in butter mixed with Herbs de Provence and it’s absolutely delicious. In fact, I don’t think it’s humanly possible to make this dish only once. It’s too good.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve made this chicken in the past month, but I own up to it: My name is Tony, and I’m addicted to this roasted chicken.

mise en place

There are only three ingredients to this recipe; five if you count the salt and pepper separately. It’s simple and that’s part of its appeal. What makes this dish taste incredible, however, is the chicken. It’s imperative, if you want fireworks to go off, that you use good quality bone-in, skin-on chicken breast. I think there’s a wide-spread illusion that boneless, skinless chicken is more convenient. It’s not. I say this because I was under that illusion for a really long time; twenty two years, to be exact. Bone-in, skin-on is tastier and just as convenient. In fact, if I didn’t have to tuck butter underneath the skin, I would claim that I could make this dish with one hand tied behind my back. On that note, let me tell you about the butter.

soft butter

Butter, as any French person will tell you, makes everything taste amazing. I use it sparingly, partly because I haven’t been blessed with the French gene to metabolize butter into thin air, but also because I’m accustomed to using extra virgin olive oil (it’s in my Middle Eastern blood). For this dish, however, butter is important. You want to use softened butter so that you can mix in Herbs de Provence to make a delectable herb cream to spread underneath the skin of each chicken breast. As the skin begins to crisp in the hot oven, the butter will continuously baste, help develop flavor and thus keep the meat incredibly moist.

quick! hide ze buttah!
ready to roast

Before the chicken goes into the oven, you want to make sure that it is seasoned well on both sides with salt and pepper, and that your oven is preheated to 450 degrees.

roasted chicken

Some people like to eat the skin because it tastes amazing, and I agree (even though it’s not the healthiest thing in the world). If I think about it too much, Pleasure and Reason appear out of nowhere and start arguing from opposite shoulders. Pleasure usually crawls over and knocks Reason around pretty badly. Reason will eventually strike back, punching Pleasure a couple times in the guts while muttering medical jargon after each blow. Eventually though, Pleasure laughs it off and knocks Reason into oblivion. That’s how it usually ends, to the delight of my cheering taste buds. To avoid this drama, I’ve come up with a compromise for myself. Out of the four chicken breasts that come in the family-size pack, I eat one piece with the skin on. I store the remaining three in the refrigerator, without the skin, for sandwiches, salads, and pasta throughout the week. This works for me, and also seems to keep Pleasure and Reason in check.

Roasted Chicken Breast

Yields 4 servings


  • 4 chicken breasts, bone-in skin-on
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tbsp herbs de provence
  • salt and pepper

Putting them all together

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Take out the chicken breasts from the refrigerator 10-15 minutes prior to roasting.
  3. Mix softened butter with herbs de provence and a little salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Very gently slide your finger in between the skin of the chicken, making sure it doesn’t fall apart.
  5. Spread a quarter of the butter/herb mixture under the skin of each breast.
  6. Sprinkle the top and bottom of each breast with salt and pepper.
  7. Place the chicken breasts breast-up on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the skin is crispy golden brown, and the juices run clear.


clear juices = ready to eat

19 thoughts on “My Roasted Chicken Phase

  1. This is going to be our dinner tonight !! Thanks Tony, will let you know how it turns out 🙂

  2. Tony, I am too addicted to roasted chicken. I roast whole chickens very much the same way as you’ve described – that herbed butter makes SO much difference! I’ll change up the spices, but that crispy skin is my ultimate goal each time. Yum. Do tell us about your dibas wa tahini sometime – I love tahini!

  3. Great Chicken with delicious flavours
    Photos are gorgeous!
    thanks for sharing….
    Happy Easter to you and your family.

  4. Thanks Yohanna! hehe, I hope you find your oven soon 😛

    Elaine, I think we share identical taste buds! Hopefully we’ll get to meet one day and eat potato/onion pizza and indulge in roasted chicken (with skin, of course!)

    Dana: Simplicity is golden 🙂

    Kirstin: enjoy! I hope it turned out well!

    Marhaba Touria — this is one of my favorite recipes because it’s so simple 🙂

    Thanks Nansi! Enjoy!

    Alta, please keep me posted on new spices that you try — I’m always eager to try this recipe different ways. I’ll work on getting a dibis wa tahini post up soon 😀

    Thanks Arlette — Allah yesalmek. Happy Easter to you and your family as well 😀

  5. Oh. My. Gah.

    I have to do the butter thing sometime. I see Jamie Oliver doing it but somehow I can’t move past the usual soy sauce and lime marinade we do here 🙂

  6. Tony, your writing gets better and better. I love this post. On the downside, it makes me miss you more!

    This looks AMAZING, and so simple. I’m going to suggest it for the next time my friends and I cook (since I can’t, as you know, cook alone)!

  7. Hmmmm. This looks so good I think I’ll get over my fear of butter and give it a try. I too reason with myself, so I won’t eat the skin and use extra butter.
    I hope you don’t mind, I added you on my “follow” list on my new food blog. love your recipes & journaling. 😉

  8. As much as I can’t stand the roasted chicken in supermarkets I love the homemade one and yours with the herbes de provence, is a complete and total delight!

  9. Marhaba tony

    I tried another version of roasted chicken..
    you should try it too… Soak the chicken over night in yorgurt, some garlic , salt and pepper.
    either do them low and slow on the BBQ or in the oven.. Serve with Garlic Sauce / Toum

  10. Want the best mushrooms ever?? Put whole or large quartered mushrooms in the bottom of the pan with this chicken

  11. I’m excited to try this tonight! I was thinking of baked potatoes/mashed potatoes next to it but cant decide between burgulr, spaghetti or brown rice (trying to be healthy!) What do you suggest?

  12. @Sara: I just made some bulgur for a side dish last night. The trick to making bulgur (or any grain) taste good is to prepare it using good quality, homemade (preferably) broth. Enjoy!

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