Okay, I have to brag for a minute. I never order chicken at a restaurant because I absolutely believe I make the best roast chicken. I also love the process – it smells delicious while cooking, and I can’t resist eating the wings and picking at the crispy skin as soon as it comes out of the oven. It also makes for great leftovers, and of course I use the carcass to make soup! I have a tiny oven that won’t even hold a roasting pan so I use a small chicken and use a little Le Cruset oval stoneware dish.
- 1 small chicken (under 3 lbs if possible)
- 3-4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 shallot, half minced the other half in tact
- A few sprigs of rosemary
- 2 lemons, halved, and the zest of one
- 1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
- 1 red or yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 carrots, halved
- Salt, pepper
Preheat the oven to 400º. Pat chicken dry and season inside cavity, and all over the outside, with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the butter, minced shallot, lemon zest, chopped rosemary, and salt. Loosen the skin of the chicken around the breast and legs with your fingers, and spread the butter mixture under the skin and all over the flesh. Stuff the cavity with 2 lemon halves, the garlic halves, the shallot, and 2 whole sprigs of rosemary.
In the roasting dish, arrange the onion quarters, carrots, and the lemon halves so that you can prop the chicken on top of them. Prop the chicken up as high as possible so it gets evenly browned. Roast for about an hour, depending on the size of your chicken. I usually rotate the entire dish a few times during cooking to make sure it’s browning evenly. Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.