There’s nothing like the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven. If you’re having people over that you want to impress, roast a chicken because it will perfume your home and it’s unbelievably easy to do. I originally used to follow Julia Child’s recipe from the classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking (which of course is delicious), but I honestly think you don’t have to do all the extra steps to have some delicious chicken. Now I do a variation of this depending on what I have in the fridge. And I always make stock with the carcass after so I have it when I need it in the freezer.
Garlic and Lemon Roasted Chicken
1 roasting chicken, about 3.5 pounds
3 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves
1/2 onion, chopped into pieces
1 lemon, chopped into wedges
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups red potatoes, halved
2 figs, halved
2 whole garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 sprigs thyme
Mix the butter and garlic together in a bowl. Dry the chicken with a paper towel and make sure any extra flaps of skin and fat have been removed. Season the cavity with salt and pepper and stuff it with the onion, lemon, thyme, whole garlic cloves, and figs. Any remaining pieces can go in the pan. Also add the potatoes and carrots to the pan. Separate the skin from the breast gently with your fingers and spread most of the butter mixture under the skin.
Spread the remaining butter mixture on the outside of the chicken and season with some salt and pepper. Place in the pan on top of the veggies and nestle it in.
Roast the chicken at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then baste with the olive oil and lower the temperature to 375. Baste every 10 minutes. A 3.5 pound chicken should take about an hour and 15 minutes, because the rule of thumb is 45 minutes plus 10 minutes for every pound. But I always go by temperature, you should make sure the thickest part of the breast is 165 degrees and the juices should be clear when you pierce it between the body and the leg.