The holidays are always a good excuse to gather the family around and enjoy a great memorable meal together. In Mexico, most families prepare roasted turkey or a roasted pork leg or shoulder. However, some folks prefer a baked chicken, for several reasons, including: chicken might be more affordable, their family may be small, or because they live on a farm and raise their own chickens. Roasted chicken is popular all over the country, and it has a few variations according to the region. Several prefer to add a dried pepper adobo, while others just season it with herbs, like in this recipe. Sometimes, the chicken is even stuffed in the same way a turkey would.
I am glad that nowadays, with the internet and social media networks available to everyone, people in other countries can get to learn about our Mexican culture, traditions, celebrations, and customs. That way, they can realize that we are also a civilized and vibrant country. Back when I first came to the US, people would ask me all kinds of questions that really puzzled me, like if we used forks to eat, if we only ate tamales for our Christmas dinner, washed our clothes by hand, or if we even had universities in Mexico (by the way, the first university established in North America was founded in Mexico City in 1551).
All these questions made me wonder how some people see foreigners, but the time it really hit me was when I went for a job interview for the role of a school teacher, and was told that perhaps I was wrong, and meant to be applying for a cleaning position, just because I was Mexican. That was a long time ago, and I hope that nowadays, before judging someone, people will get to know others better and find out more about their country. I also hope that all parents educate their children to be appreciative of other cultures, so that they may become a Judgment Free Generation.
Enjoy the Holiday season, and I hope you try this easy recipe!
- 1 roasting chicken (about 4-5 pounds)
- Salt and pepper to season
- 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped*
- 1 lemon or lime, halved
- Zest of lemon
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of butter, melted or room temperature
- 4 garlic cloves, mashed
- 1/2 head of garlic
OPTIONAL TO SERVE WITH THE CHICKEN
- 2 carrots, cut into cubes
- 1 large potato, cut into cubes
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4-6 sprigs of rosemary
- Some people use thyme instead of rosemary, but I personally prefer rosemary because it brings back sweet memories of Christmas Day, when my aunts where preparing the dinner and the aroma of rosemary filled the house.
- I highly recommend you use a meat thermometer when roasting meats. They are not too expensive and will help you to always have tender, juicy roasted meats.
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Clean chicken by rinsing it inside and out. If it has excess fat, remove it, and pat dry with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body. Season the inside of the chicken well with salt and pepper.
5. Brush the chicken with the butter-lime mix all over, then season the chicken with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with a kitchen string. Place chicken in roasting pan.
4. Roast the chicken for 1 ½ hours; you can use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. The breast temperature should read 180 degrees. (If adding the carrots and potatoes, continue to step 5.)
5. Mix carrots and potatoes, then season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and 2 sprigs of rosemary. After the chicken has been in the oven for 45 minutes, add the potato/carrot mixture to the roasting pan, where they will cook with the chicken juices and flavors.
6. Once the chicken is done, remove from oven, and cover with aluminum foil for about 10-15 minutes. Serve with the vegetables.
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