There’s nothing simpler or more delicious than a roast chicken. Follow this comfort-inducing recipe for a perfectly tender, golden-brown bird.
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 (5-pound) whole chicken, giblets removed
- ½ lemon
- 1 (16-ounce) package carrots, peeled and cut into 5-inch pieces
- 1 large sweet onion, cut into wedges
- 1 head garlic, halved
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs
- In a small bowl, combine zest and 2 teaspoons salt. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Gently loosen skin from chicken, keeping skin intact. Rub salt mixture under skin and all over chicken. Place lemon half inside chicken cavity. Tie legs with kitchen twine. Refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425°. Let chicken stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Place carrots, onion, garlic, and thyme in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Place chicken on top of vegetables. Rub chicken with oil, and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon salt.
- Bake until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°, about 1 hour and 25 minutes, covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Remove chicken, carrots, and garlic from skillet; whisk in flour. Pour in broth, and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened. Stir in pepper. Serve gravy with chicken. Garnish with thyme, if desired.
Stuffing the chicken with aromatics such as citrus, garlic, or herbs infuses the meat with flavor.
Don’t be afraid to season the chicken generously. Salt and pepper not only makes the chicken taste good; they help render the fat, yielding a crispy, crackly crust. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside and outside the chicken for the best flavor.
Let the chicken stand at least 30 minutes at room temperature before roasting. This helps the chicken cook more evenly.