There is no question that my love language is culinary. Sick in bed? I’ll bring over pho! Just had a baby? I’ll be over with a pan of Brown Butter Pumpkin Mac and Cheese. But to me, there is no food more potent with love than a freshly roasted whole chicken with herbs and garlic.

As it roasts, its heavenly scent fills your kitchen, wafting down the halls (and perhaps even into the apartment next door), letting everyone know that something special is being cooked. It’s simple, but the very definition of wholesome, and goes with just about anything.

This isn’t the first chicken I’ve roasted, but it may be the easiest preparation. Here, I blend the classic French dried herb combination Herbes de Provence (a mixture of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano and lavender) with chopped garlic, salt and pepper, and slather it thickly over a beautiful whole chicken.

The herb-garlic mixture does double duty, creating a crust that helps hold moisture in, while also infusing the chicken with all that herbaceous flavor.

The product is a wonderfully juicy, rustic chicken that should be served with simple sides that complement but don’t overwhelm it. Roasted potatoes, a creamy risotto or sauteed cannellini beans would be great options, along with something sturdy and green, like massaged kale or roasted rapini.

So, instead of chocolate or roses, consider giving a freshly roasted chicken this Valentine’s Day. Not only does it kind of look like a heart, but you can’t make soup broth out of leftover chocolates and roses.

Serves 4

French Food: Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic in the dish for baking close-up. Horizontal top view

Ingredients

1 whole (5-pound) roasting chicken, giblets removed

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1/8 cup Herbes de Provence (usually found near the spices)

2 tsp each salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken under cool running water and pat dry using paper towels.

Place in a large (at least 9x13) casserole pan and set aside.

Combine the garlic, Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well to combine.

Slather the garlic-herb mixture all over the chicken, inside the cavity, and all over the skin, slipping your hand between the skin and the flesh to rub a bit in there as well.

If desired, truss the chicken (this is not required).

Place the chicken breast-side-up in the pan and cover tightly with foil.

Roast, covered, for 30 minutes (if your chicken is larger or smaller than 5 pounds, adjust the cooking time slightly).

Uncover the chicken and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the skin is golden-brown and the juices run clear (stick a knife into the thigh to check this).

Let rest for 5 minutes, then carve and serve hot.

BrokeAss Gourmet caters to folks who want to live the high life on the cheap, with delicious recipes that are always under $20. Gabi Moskowitz is the blog’s editor in chief and author of The BrokeAss Gourmet Cookbook and Pizza Dough: 100 Delicious Unexpected Recipes.

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