I know a whole roasted chicken may be one of the most simple dishes, but I have never attempted to make one until tonight. Here is my version.
With a whole, fresh chicken in the fridge, time was not on my side and I knew he must be cooked soon, so I decided to roast it tonight knowing it would be great for lunch all week with veggies, in a chicken salad or atop a salad.
The great news is that is SO easy I have no idea why I would ever buy a practically anorexic, overly salty grocery-store roasted chicken for $6.99 when this chicken was about $4 and SO delicious, plump & moist and the presentation was lovely. I guess the difference is time, but everyone has an hour some nights, right?
1 whole 4 pound chicken, giblets removed (if present) and rinsed & patted dry
1 large lime or orange or lemon, quartered, peel and all
4-6 sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme (I used rosemary because that was all I had)
1 whole large garlic clove (no need to peel), cut through the middle horizontally
2-3 tablespoons butter, room temperature but not melted
Fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425. Rinse and dry the chicken. As gross as it is, get the inside cavity nice and clean (get all the blood out). Then be sure to dry the chicken very well with paper towels. The dryness ensures the beautiful browning you want and that the butter & seasonings adhere. Then generously sprinkle the insides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Stuff the bird with the chopped citrus, garlic and fresh herbs.
Truss the chicken with kitchen string/twine. Wish I had a photo here, but basically sit him on his "butt" and pull the wings back like he is stretching his arms up over his head & behind his back like a satisfied man after dinner. You know what I mean. :-)
Then, place the string firmly under where his neck would be if it wasn't cut off, then down under his armpits, then cross over his back, then down his sides to under his legs, then cross his legs and wrap the twine around both of his drumsticks in order to cross & tie the legs tightly together. Then tie off and cut the excess twine. This helps him cook evenly.
Massage all the butter over the chicken's skin. Rub it all over for even browning. Then, season the chicken liberally with sea salt & fresh ground black pepper.
Roast the chicken for about 1 hour, up to a max of 1.5 hours, depending on weight. You want the chicken done enough that the juices run clear when you make a small cut between the leg and the thigh (or use an oven thermometer, when you hit 160 take it out, tent it with foil and carve in 10 minutes.)