Perfect roast chicken often tests a great chef's mettle, since we all know that "simple" is hard to do well. Some of the success is up to the chicken, so buy one that's kosher, organic, or free-range. The rest is up to you. Thyme's invigorating aroma not only perfumes the chicken but also your kitchen.
4 1/2-pound chicken, kosher, organic, or free-range if possible
3 medium thin-skinned lemons
3 large bunches fresh thyme
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Remove giblets from chicken. Discard liver, and place giblets in a small saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and strain both through a fine-mesh sieve. Set aside.
3. Wash chicken and dry well. Using a small sharp knife, make a dozen deep slits in each of two lemons and place in cavity of chicken along with half the fresh thyme. Truss chicken with kitchen string and place in a shallow roasting pan.
4. Mix 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 tablespoons thyme leaves together. Rub mixture all over chicken. Roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes, basting frequently with pan drippings.
5. Transfer chicken to a cutting board. Pour off most of the fat from the pan. Add 1 cup broth to the pan and, using a spatula, scrape up browned bits from the pan. Return broth to the saucepan with remaining broth. Add juice of remaining lemon, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Strain sauce and serve with chicken, carved as desired. Garnish with lemons from cavity, cut into wedges, and additional sprigs of fresh thyme.
Recipe by Rozanne Gold. Healthy 1-2-3
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