The lemons in this chicken keep it moist while roasting and eliminate the need for basting. It doesnt get any easier than this.
1 3-4 lb. chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea or kosher salt
2 whole lemons
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Wash the chicken thoroughly in cold water, both inside and out. Remove all the bits of loose fat. Let the chicken sit for about 10 minutes, to drain the water out of its cavity. Dry it well all over with paper towels.
- Make a mixture of sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper in a small bowl. Season the chicken liberally inside and out with this mixture.
- Rinse the lemons in cold water and dry them off with a paper towel. Soften them by gently pressing them between the palms of your hands, rolling them back and forth a few times. Perforate them in at least 20 places with a trussing needle.
- Put both lemons, the thyme and garlic in the chicken's cavity. Close up the opening by pinning it with the trussing needle. Run a string from one leg to the other, tying it at both knuckle ends. Don't pull the legs together tightly; leave them in their natural position.
- The chicken swells while it cooks and the string is only to keep the thighs from spreading and stretching and splitting the skin at the inner folds. Put the chicken face down on a rack in a roasting pan. Do not add cooking fat of any kind.
- Place it in the upper third of the preheated oven. After 25-30 minutes, turn the chicken so the breast faces up. Be careful not to break the skin. If it is kept intact, the chicken will swell like a balloon.
- Cook for another 40 minutes, then turn up the heat to 400 degrees F. and cook for an additional 30 minutes. There is no need to turn the chicken again. Cut the string and remove the lemons, thyme and garlic from the chicken and serve.