Roast chicken is something I really love to eat and it's something I really love to make. This recipe is one that I turn to quite often because my family loves it. The bird always comes out juicy and succulent, never dry and tough. One thing I strongly recommend is that you buy a free-range, organic chicken from a reputable butcher. I'm lucky to have several sources, including my local Whole Foods, so I tend to make this dish several times a month. The great thing about this recipe is that it can be customized to your family's liking. Add some spices to give it some zip, tuck in some herbs underneath the skin or change the citrus to a lime or orange if you wish. Let's begin!
- Organic free-range chicken (3 1/2 to 4 lbs.)
- One large onion peeled and sliced into rounds
- 4 sprigs of Italian flat leaf parsley
- 1 lemon well washed
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (room temperature)
- salt and pepper
Rinse the chicken under cool water, pat dry and let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of your roasting pan or other oven-proof dish with your sliced onions and place the chicken on top. Lift the skin from each breast and tuck a teaspoon of butter on each side, along with some salt & pepper. Massage it in very well. Salt and pepper the cavity and tuck in the sprigs of parsley. With the heel of your hand, roll your lemon on the counter back & forth (this helps release the juice) and then pierce it about 20 times with a paring knife. Stuff it in the cavity.
Rub the remaining butter all over the chicken (if it's at room temperature it will smear nicely) and salt and pepper well. Truss your chicken and tuck the wing tips underneath. Don't forget to salt and pepper the onions.
The chicken is ready to be put into the preheated oven. I'm using a 12" stainless steel All-Clad frying pan for this.
As soon as you put the chicken in the oven, set your timer for one hour. After the hour is up, immediately raise the oven temperature to 400° F and set your timer for 20 minutes. The higher temperature will brown & crisp the skin beautifully.
Remove the chicken & test for doneness. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read 180° F according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. I take it out at 170° F because it will continue to cook as it sits.