Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr 40 mins
The chicken can be rubbed with oil but is not as succulent, so keep this recipe for days when you feel particularly self-indulgent, as the inclusion of the butter under the breast skin leaves the bird wonderfully moist. This chicken is so good it needs little embellishment. Simple boiled new potatoes are the perfect side dish. From "The Impressionists' Table" by Pamela Todd.
- 1 (3 1/2-4 lb) roasting chickens, rinsed and patted dry (free-range if you can get one)
- 1 onion, stuck with
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 lemon
- salt and pepper
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, including tarragon, chives and parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Fill the chicken's body cavity with the onion, bay leaf and lemon and season well.
- Beat together the butter, garlic, herbs and more salt and pepper. Lift the skin from the neck end of the chicken away from the flesh and carefully work your hand between the skin and breast to form pockets. Divide the butter in half and fill each pocket with half of it, spreading it as far along the breast as possible without tearing the skin. Spread any remaining butter over the skin, then sprinkle all over with salt and pepper and transfer to a roasting pan.
- Roast the chicken breast side down for about 20 minutes; then raost for another 20 minutes on one side; then turn again and raost it on the other side for about 20 minutes; finish roasting the bird breast side up -- total roasting time should be 1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 hours until the skin is browned and the meat is cooked through. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
This was more of a 3 1/2 stars - I wanted to love it, but couldn't. I didn't care for the bay leaf it gave the gravy an odd flavor, the lemon only seemed to affect the wings, but they were very good. I only used half the butter but still had a huge amount of fat to drain off, and the meat wasn't any moister that when I roast chicken without it. I also put some of the butter/herb mixture under the thigh skin. I skipped the bird spinning, as I've done it before with little difference for all the effort and possible burns. This made a nice gravey, though I added some thyme and wine to hide the bay leaf flavor. I'd save the butter calories for the potatoes, but with some herb adjustments this makes a nice roast chicken.