Roasting a whole chicken is often a feared task because often the chicken turns out a less than appetizing pale yellowish color and dry as an old dogs bone. In reality a whole roasted chicken is actually one of the easiest and most satisfying meals you can make. It is one of my favorites for sure. Try to buy local, fresh and organic whenever possible.
My secret weapon is a digital prob thermometer. This can be purchased at any cooking store, online or most grocers. I personally own this model from sur la table click here & a deep roasting pan with elevated rack. If you do not have a rack simply elevate the chicken with large carrots and celery bunches. Air needs to be able to circulate around the chicken totally.
So here’s my recipe…
5-6lb whole chicken giblets removed
1 stick of butter softened
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper (black or white)
3 cloves fresh garlic minced
1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
Set prob thermometer to 160 degrees as desired food temperature. I understand that 165 is recommended but we will be letting our bird rest for 20-30 mins after cooking. So by the time we cut into our chicken it will have continued cooking and reached our desired temperature of 165. if you are not comfortable with this due to the nature of chicken please set your thermometer at 165
PRE-HEAT to 500 degrees
1. Make sure chicken is totally defrosted and wiped dry.
2. Place chicken onto rack or vegetables in roasting pan, tucking the wings under the back.
3. Insert probe from thermometer into the thickest part of breast making sure not to hit a bone or enter the empty cavity ( this is important in order to have an accurate temperature reading).
4. Zest one lemon into a med size bowl. And add the juice from said lemon after zesting.
5. Add all remaining ingredients excluding the other lemon and bay leaves. Mix well.
At this point you should have a bowl of delicious fragrant garlic lemon and thyme butter. It’s hard but try not to eat it!
6. Using your finger or back of a table spoon gently separate the delicate chicken skin from the meat working from breast to tail. And then from tail to breast being especially careful with the leg skin. If you tear it, slow down and keep working. This takes some practice so relax.
7. Push the butter mixture under the skin of the chicken until it is evenly distributed throughout leaving enough for the top of the skin as well. Rubbing the skin prior to adding butter on top will help move it into hard to reach areas such as the leg.
8. Rub the remaining butter mixture all over outside of the chicken.
9. Cut remaining lemon in half. Place one half inside the chicken cavity followed by the 2 bay leaves and then the other half of lemon.
Place chicken into 500 degree oven for about 20mins until skin is brown. This time may vary from oven to oven. Your chicken may need to be turned around also if your oven does not heat evenly. Try to watch through the glass instead of opening the oven as frequent opening will result in a longer cook time.
When skin is mostly brown on top reduce oven heat to 350 degrees and continue cooking without opening oven until your thermometer reads 160 or 165 whichever you desire.
Remove chicken and let rest for approx 20-30mins without cutting or removing probe. Removing the probe or cutting without allowing a resting time will allow the juices to escape and dry out your bird!
Enjoy! And save that chicken carcass in the freezer for later! Coming soon- making your own chicken broth from left over bones.