Photo: Becky Luigart-Staynor; Stylist: Cindy Barr
4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half or 1 thigh and 1 drumstick, and 1 tablespoon drippings)

Start with the best-quality chicken you can find. We chose a fresh organic bird.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 450°.

Step 2

Remove giblets and neck from chicken cavity; discard. Trim excess fat from chicken. Loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper inside body cavity. Squeeze lemon juice into body cavity; place lemon halves in body cavity. Combine softened butter, minced shallots, rosemary, and thyme, stirring with a fork until well blended. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl; rub salt mixture evenly under skin over breast and drumstick meat. Rub butter mixture evenly under skin over breast and drumstick meat. Tie ends of legs together with twine. Lift wing tips up and over back, and tuck under chicken.

Step 3

Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack coated with cooking spray; place rack in a roasting pan. Pour 3/4 cup water into roasting pan. Bake chicken at 450° for 1 hour or until a thermometer inserted in meaty part of thigh registers 160°. Remove chicken from pan; let stand, breast side down, 15 minutes. Remove skin; discard.

Step 4

Place a large zip-top plastic bag inside a 4-cup glass measure. Pour drippings through a sieve into bag; discard solids. Let drippings stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a medium bowl, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Carve chicken; serve with drippings.

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Ratings & Reviews

EllenDeller's Review

January 29, 2012
Great chicken from Whole Foods, just a bit under 4 lbs, and the timing and temperature on this recipe were just perfect: not over or under-done. Hard to make myself put 240 calories worth of butter under the skin, but the breast certainly was moist and juicy. This was perfect roast chicken, served with steamed kale and roasted chunks of rutabaga, turnips, onions, and carrots tossed with a bit of olive oil, lemon, and herbs de provence.

carolfitz's Review

December 05, 2010
The lemon & thyme-rosemary-shallot butter is great. Had a 7lb roaster for six, so increased herb-butter and cooking time. Placed chicken on a "rack" of celery, carrots & garlic, this keeps it raised above the roasting pan and makes for more flavorful sauce. When the chicken was done, smashed the garlic, discarded the celery/carrots, and deglazed the pan with about 2c of chicken stock and then all into a fat separator. Just before serving, poured off the au jus, added 1/2c white wine & the smashed garlic and zapped it in the microwave to warm. Excellent.

aqua1117's Review

May 23, 2010
This was a very tasty herb combination for a roast chicken. I love the idea of turning the chicken on the breast after you take it out of the oven and letting it sit for 15 min. The breast meat is very moist and juicy as a result. The herb combination was very flavorful as well. I served it with a wild rice blend and steamed broccoli.