about 1⅓cupsfresh blackberries,washed and dried, divided
2tablespoonsfinely chopped fresh thyme,washed and dried
1(approximately 4 pound)whole chicken
a few sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish
Set the oven and make the blackberry butter. Preheat the oven to 500°F.In a small bowl, combine the softened butter with ⅓ cup of the blackberries, and use the back of a small fork to mash them. Then add the lemon zest, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix until it's relatively smooth (there will be pieces of blackberries throughout). Set aside.
Prep the chicken and baking dish. Remove the insides of the chicken, and pat dry with paper towels.Spread about 2 tablespoons of the blackberry-thyme butter on the bottom of a small roasting pan that's at least a couple of inches larger than the chicken, on all sides.
Baste and truss. Place the chicken in the pan, on top of the butter, breast side up. Rub the blackberry-thyme butter mixture under the skin. (This should include the breasts and legs.) Work your way under as much of the skin as possible -- if you're very gentle, it won't tear.Now truss the chicken with butcher's twine. (Here's How to Truss a Chicken.) (It's also okay to just tie the ends of the legs together if trussing it becomes tricky.)Rub the remaining blackberry-thyme butter mixture on top -- all over the skin of the chicken.
Begin roasting. Being sure the chicken is breast side up, place the pan in the preheated 500°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.
Flip. 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.
Continue roasting. Once the oven has cooled to 350°F, continue to roast the chicken until internal temperature is 155°F -- this should take about an hour, but focus only on the temperature and not the time. (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 to baste the chicken with the butter and juices from the bottom of the pan.The final internal temperature will be about 165°F, 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.)
Let the chicken rest. When you remove the chicken from the oven, baste it again, and then use a few pieces of crumbled foil to tilt it (place them beneath one end), so the breast end is down. This allows all of the juices to flow to the breasts. Wait at least 15 minutes before carving.
Garnish. Use the remaining 1 cup of the blackberries and the thyme sprigs for garnish.
Calorie count is only an estimate.
Keywords chicken for family dinner, fall comfort food recipes
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