This recipe appears in:Cook the Book: 'Roast Chicken and Other Stories'
Each Saturday evening we bring you a Sunday Supper recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow.
Hopkinson's book has become a surprise best-seller, and why not? The British magazine Waitrose Food Illustrated calls it "the most useful cookbook of all time." Now there's a blurb.
- 1/2 cup good butter, room temperature
- 1 four-pound free-range chicken
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lemon
- Several sprigs of thyme or tarragon, or a mixture of both
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Preheat oven to 450°F. Use your hands to smear the softened butter all over the chicken. Place chicken in a roasting pan with enough room to spare. Season liberally with salt and pepper, then squeeze the juice of the lemon over the bird. Place the herbs and garlic inside the chicken's cavity along with the squeezed lemon halves.
Roast in oven 10 to 15 minutes. Baste, then reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Roast 30 to 45 minutes more, with occasional basting. Chicken should be golden brown all over with a crisp skin and have buttery, lemony juices of a nut-brown color in the bottom of pan.
Turn off oven, leaving door ajar, and allow chicken to rest at least 15 minutes before carving. This allows the flesh to relax and retain the juices, resulting in easier carving and moist meat.
The resulting juices do well enough on their own, after a light whisk or stir, to serve as a "gravy"no need to do anything more complicated.