Roasting a chicken is so easy, but so many people are intimidated by having to deal with a whole bird. I love to roast poultry because it provides several meals, and I always make stock with the carcass. Roasters are available at any grocery store, but, if you have the option, choose an organic or free-range bird. In my area, Amish chickens are readily available and are always delicious and free of hormones and other nasty stuff. I prefer a chicken that is about 3.75-4.50 lbs. Err on the side of small rather than large to insure a tender bird. For this recipe, I loosen the skin and massage a butter, lemon and herb mixture between the meat and the skin. However, you can eliminate this step and just stuff the bird with the other ingredients and generously add salt and pepper to the outside of the chicken. The skin will not have the same crispy herb and lemon infused flavor, but it’s a good weekday substitution.
- 1 Medium sized Roasting Chicken
- 1/4 Cup unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 Lemon
- 1/4 Sweet yellow onion
- 4 Cloves of garlic
- 6-8 Sprigs each fresh rosemary and fresh thyme, or substitute with equal amounts of fresh tarragon and flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 Cup white wine or chicken broth
Remove the leaves from the stems of 1/2 the herbs and finely chop. Finely chop 2 cloves of garlic. Grate the zest from 1 lemon. In a small bowl, combine softened butter, chopped herbs, lemon zest, and garlic and set aside. Rinse chicken and remove any giblets or parts that may be included in the cavity. Starting at the large cavity opening, peel the skin away from the chicken to create a pouch between the skin and the meat. If the skin is not pulling away easily, use a large sharp knife to help gently work the skin away from the meat. Try to create as large a pocket area as possible.
Add the butter mixture to the pocket you’ve created and use your hands (on top of the skin) to gently spread the butter mixture throughout the pocket. Cut the remaining lemon in 1/2 and stuff lemon, onion, and remaining garlic and herb sprigs into the cavity of the chicken.Place chicken on rack of roasting pan. Pour wine or chicken broth over top of chicken. Place roasting pan in preheated oven and immediately reduce heat to 325 degrees. Allow chicken to cook 15-20 minutes per pound, until juices run clear and internal temperature measures 165 degrees. Serves 4-6. Prep Time: 20 Minutes Total Time: 1.5-2.5 hrs. (depending on size of bird)