“Why yes,” I said. “I like to make a day of it.” It’s totally true for me — the longer the cooking project the better.
With only 15 minutes prep time, this roasted chicken is incredibly flavorful, succulent, and tasty — and it would make a beautiful holiday dish, to boot!
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 approximately 4-pound whole chicken
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
In a small bowl, mix the softened butter with the lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, thyme and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove the insides of the chicken, rinse inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken, breast side up in a small roasting pan that's at least a few inches larger than the chicken, on all sides.
Rub about half of the butter mixture under and on top of the skin. (This should include all of the chicken that's facing up -- breasts, legs, etc.) Set the remaining butter aside.
Place the pan in the preheated 500 degree F oven and roast until the surface of the chicken is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 F degrees.
Very carefully, using tongs, placing one part inside the cavity and one gently on the top of the breast side, flip the chicken over so it's breast side down. Coat the back of the chicken with the remaining butter mixture and then return the chicken to the oven.
Continue to roast the chicken until internal temperature is 155 degrees -- this should take about 40 minutes. (For an accurate reading of the temperature, place the thermometer deep into the flesh, away from bones.) During the roasting process, every 15 or so, use a spoon or basting brush to baste the chicken, with the butter and juices from the bottom of the pan.
The final internal temperature will be about 165 degrees, as the chicken will continue to cook for several minutes outside of the oven. It should be nicely browned, the juices should run clear and the legs should move easily when it's done. (If you think it's getting too brown before the chicken is cooked, lightly cover it with foil in the oven.)
Wait least 15 minutes before carving, to allow the juices to settle.