I don't often make a roast chicken, other than on special occasions, but when I do, I often crave it with skin as crispy as chips and meat that's savoury and juicy - exactly what I would expect from this recipe for a garlic lemon butter roasted chicken. I can't imagine any better combination than garlic + lemon butter. Garlic gives any seasoning depth, and lemon butter infuses just enough fat and citrus to produce a tender roast.
When I make roast chicken, I prefer to go organic. I happened to have a Yorkshire Valley Farms whole organic chicken from Fortinos lying around. When I buy organic meats from Yorkshire Valley Farms (or any other reputable organic farm), I know that the animal I am consuming is grain fed and raised without harmful antibiotics. It's no wonder that their chicken meat is noticeably more firm, and the breasts much larger than non-organic chicken.
Not surprisingly, I don't have a roasting pan with a rack. Instead, I use either my Le Creuset round French oven or my Pampered Chef stone baking pan and layer the bottom with root vegetables to prop the roast up. This way, the heat can circulate better below the roast as well as above.
You can roast almost any type of vegetables with the chicken, keeping in mind that the roast will be in the oven for about an hour so the vegetables should be able to withstand the heat for that long without becoming mushy. I picked up some asparagus since it is currently in season and placed them in the oven with the roast. Needless to say, they got super soft and stringy. So the next time, I would either wait until the 50 minute mark to put them in the roast, or I would just saute them separately.
Finally, I find that you really can't go THAT wrong with a roast once you know what you want to season it with. I usually just guestimate the amount of salt and pepper I need, and in this recipe that's exactly what I have done - guestimated the amount for most of the seasoning, including the garlic and butter. I find that the use of salt, pepper, and garlic powder marinates the chicken extremely well, even if you only have 1 hour between marination and roasting time. Just a reminder: garlic powder is quite salty, so if you do apply it to the chicken, you may want to be less generous with the salt + pepper.
The garlic lemon butter is entirely optional - I have made roasted chicken without it and the chicken still turns out juicy and savoury - but sometimes I just want to make a dish that is a bit more special and that's when I will make it with the garlic lemon butter. The garlic and lemon adds extra depth to the taste of the meat and is really enjoyable on the palate. Let me know if it reminds you of a butterball chicken.
We never finish the entire garlic lemon butter roasted chicken, especially the white meat. The leftovers make a mean chicken salad sandwich, or can be used to make chicken soup. Whatever your heart desires. Now I wonder why I don't roast chickens more often! I mean it's a 2-in-1 meal (with plenty of leftover for another meal) AND I can just leave it in the oven for an hour and do the laundry at the same time! Enjoy!
Step 1: Simple Ingredients
1 organic whole chicken (2.2-3 lb or 1.2-1.4 kg)
1-2 Tbsp salt & pepper
1-2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp thyme or other herb (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
1 large lemon
assorted root vegetables (eg. potatoes, onion, carrots etc.)
Step 2: Prepare the Chicken, Garlic Lemon Butter, and Vegetables
Pat the inside and outside of the organic whole chicken to remove excess moisture. Remove any giblets that may be inside the chicken. Loosen the skin from the meat of the entire chicken by pushing your fingers/hand gently in between.
Make the garlic lemon butter: Mix the olive oil into the butter. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon into the butter. Crush and mince 1-2 cloves of garlic. Using your fingers, add the garlic into the olive oil/lemon/butter mix and then season with salt and pepper. The warmth from your fingers should make the butter quite malleable.
Distribute chunks of the garlic lemon butter in the space between the skin and meat of the breasts, back, and thighs. Rub any remaining garlic lemon butter on the outside of the chicken.
Season the skin (and cavity) generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Place the cut lemon into the cavity. You can also place additional crushed garlic and onion into the chicken's cavity as well. Let the seasoned chicken sit for at least an hour in the fridge (ideally, up to 24 hours prior to roasting).
When ready to roast, preheat your oven to 450 F.
Wash and chop up your root vegetables to be placed at the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with thyme or any other herb you desire.
Step 3: Ready the Chicken for the Oven
Place the seasoned chicken, breast up, on the roasting rack or chopped vegetables. You may want to truss the chicken.
Immediately reduce the heat of the oven to 400 F before putting the chicken into the oven. Set the timer for 50 minutes.
At 50 minutes, check the temperature of the chicken at the thickest part of the thigh. It should read between 165 F and 180 F. Put the chicken back into the oven at 10 minute intervals until it reaches the required temperature.
Step 4: Let Sit Before Eating
Basting the chicken with the juices at the bottom of the pan will create a crispier skin.
Once the chicken reaches the required temperature, take it out of the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before eating to let the juices soak back into the chicken. Place a piece of aluminum foil, tented, over the chicken to accelerate process.