Main Dishes Method Poultry Recipes

Roast Chicken with Lemon and Thyme

March 31, 2017
Roast Chicken with Lemon and Thyme

Roasting a chicken is a skill so basic that any home cook can do it. There’s a chicken to which you apply heat. The bigger question is, why roast a chicken whole? Here are several good reasons.

There are a few need-to-know essentials before you get started. There’s the oven temp, the timing, the basting and the decision of whether to rub the skin with butter or olive oil. Hopefully, this recipe will help a bit with making those choices so your experience is easy-peasy.

♠ First, whole chickens when roasted in the oven benefit from the fact they’re intact. In some inscrutable Neanderthal way, this makes sense: cooking a bird in its all-together generally results in tender, juicy white and dark meat, crisped skin and the hope there are drippings enough to cobble together a sauce, if desired. If you need me to draw you a mental picture, think Norman Rockwell and Thanksgiving turkey. How often do you take turkeys apart before roasting?

♣ Second, roasting a chicken is an easy, hands-off method to cook dinner. Wash the bird, dry with a towel, stuff with lemon halves, rub with a softened butter-thyme mixture and finish with a dusting of salt and pepper. You’re good to go. And by go, I mean go read a book, fold laundry, play video games, hug the dog. For about an hour, you, the cook, get to operate on standby. This doesn’t mean you can leave the house. But you can at least minimize bellying up to the stove.

♥ Keep the sides simple: roast diced potatoes tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper in the oven, steam rice or cook up some quinoa. And if that sounds like too much effort, buy a crusty French baguette at the bakery and call it good. Steam a veggie. Dinner will be ready soon.

♦ Finally, that bird carcass is not to be thrown away. Carve off every last sliver of meat and then throw the bony remains in a bag and toss in the freezer. Use a big ziplock and every time you roast a chicken, repeat. Continue adding to your bird carcass collection and after a while you’ll have enough (including any raw bird bits from creating airline chicken breasts — another blog post) to make stock.

Easy, right? Enjoy dinner tonight.

Roast Chicken

Roasting a chicken whole is easy to do at home and results in tender white meat, thanks to the bones.

Roast Chicken with Lemon and Thyme Recipe

1 — 4 lb organic chicken

2 lemons, halved

10 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped off stems

2 T butter, softened to room temperature

salt and pepper

Heat oven to 450°F.

Rinse chicken, discarding any internal organs that may come with the packaging (or save for stock, except for the lungs). Dry chicken.

Place chicken in ceramic baking dish. Insert lemon halves.

Combine softened butter and thyme leaves into a paste. Rub onto chicken. Salt and pepper chicken.

Roast for 20 minutes.

Lower heat to 375°F and continue roasting chicken until juices run clear, skin is crisped and brown and internal temperature measures 160°F, about 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven and place on cutting board. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

D Thibert Pouilly-Fuisse 2Wine educator Stephanie Davis recommends heading to the French section of the wine isle and finding a bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse — a Burgundian style of Chardonnay without the scary price tag. It still has the influence of oak aging, but in a not-so-oaky way, she believes. The producer Domaine Thibert has won many awards for their prized, yet affordable wines. $26/bottle.





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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished,, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.

Interested in Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage? Find it on Amazon and in Indie bookstores.

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