I’ve roasted many a chicken in my time. Many. First because it’s one of the most delicious meals you can serve your family. And you can change the seasonings to suit your family’s tastes. Second because it’s just so easy. Season the chicken, pop it in the oven, and come back later to serve dinner.
I had really never thought that there might be a better method for roasting a chicken until I saw one being done this way recently. I decided to give it a try and wouldn’t you know it – I now have a new favorite way to roast a chicken. Of course, I adapted the recipe that I saw to suit myself, but that’s what cooking is all about, isn’t it?
For this Butter Roasted Chicken, you’ll want a small, tender chicken that’s around 4 pounds. I used to find 3 pound chickens, which I really like, but those are rare these days. They’re bred to have so much breast meat that it makes the poor little things top heavy and the smallest ones you can find are usually about 4 pounds. Although I have seen some labeled “organic” that are somewhat smaller.
Whatever size bird you choose, just take it out of its package, remove all the “gunk” from the inside (you know, the giblets and the stuff that makes you go ewwww) and then dry the skin really well with a paper towel. Then salt and pepper the chicken really well both inside and outside.
Now take your fresh herbs and stick them…well, you know where they go…
And push those lemon wedges in there, too. At this point you can truss your chicken if you want to. I like to do it so that it cooks more evenly, but you don’t have to!
Now place the chicken on its left leg in a roasting pan or an large cast iron skillet. Put the butter all in one piece on top of the chicken. Put it in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, baste the skin all over with the accumulated pan juices and turn the chicken over on its right leg. Put it back in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pan, baste the chicken and turn it breast side down. Put the pan back in the oven and cook for 15 minutes more. Remove the pan, baste the chicken and turn it breast side up. Cook for an additional 30 minutes or until the juices run clear at the thigh. Be sure to baste several more times during the final cooking. It makes the skin a beautiful golden brown and so crispy. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
- 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh herbs – my favorite combination is tarragon, thyme, rosemary and sage
- 1 lemon, quartered
- ¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove the giblets from the chicken and dry it the skin well.
- Thoroughly salt and pepper the chicken both inside and out.
- Place the herbs and lemon wedges inside and truss if you wish.
- Place the chicken on its side in a roasting pan or a large cast iron skillet. Sit the butter on top.
- Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven, baste the skin all over and turn the chicken on its other side.
- Cook for 15 more minutes, remove from oven, baste the skin all over and turn the chicken breast side down.
- Cook for 15 minutes, remove from oven, baste the skin all over and turn the chicken on its back (breast side up).
- Return to the oven and cook an additional 30 minutes or until juices at the thigh run clear. Be sure to baste several more times during the final 30 minutes of cooking.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.