We eat a lot of chicken at our house but one thing we don't do too often is roast an entire chicken. I've always been a little scared of the prospect of roasting an entire bird but with all the tv shows lately talking about roasting turkeys for Thanksgiving, I finally felt I had enough information to give it a shot. It was a messy process to get the bird cleaned and ready but oddly fun. I'm still not entirely sure where I should be testing the bird's temperature to check doneness so I was nervous about overcooking it. Luckily, it turned out incredibly moist and juicy. I'd actually venture to say that this was the most delicious chicken we've ever had. The flavors of the lemon, garlic and herbs in the cavity really infused the meat and the butter under the skin helped to keep it moist. When we ran out grocery shopping earlier we picked up 2 more whole chickens so we can make this again and again!
Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken
adapted from FoodNetwork.com and Good Things Catered
1 oven roaster chicken (ours was almost 4 lbs)
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, halved
1/4 bunch each fresh rosemary and thyme
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside and out, then pat it dry with paper towels. Season the cavity with salt and pepper, and then stuff the lemon, garlic, and herbs inside (I could only fit half the lemon in our chicken along with the garlic and herbs). Place the chicken, breast-side up, in a roasting pan. In a small bowl stir the softened butter and salt and pepper to combine. Using your fingers, loosen skin from top of breast and thighs. Take half of butter mixture and rub underneath skin on one breast and thigh of bird, spreading evenly. Take remaining herb mixture and spread underneath skin on other half of bird. Take all remnants of butter mixture (from bowl, hands, and extra amount from under skin) and spread over top of the bird's skin.
Place roasting pan in oven and bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours (depending on size of chicken). The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer says 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (the legs of the chicken should wiggle easily from the sockets too). Remove the chicken to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes, so the juices settle back into the meat before carving.