If you read my post a long, long time ago about cornish game hens, this is pretty much the exact same recipe, except with a regular sized chicken. I made three of these puppies for our Mother’s Day celebration this year, and everyone just loved it! The chicken really absorbs the flavors of the garlic, herbs, and lemon, and it is so moist and juicy. Now, it’s my go-to roasted chicken recipe.
I recently made this when we had some friends over for dinner, and they really loved it too. Plus, I think it’s pretty impressive. It’s definitely special enough for a special occasion. It’s not something I’d make on a weeknight, just because it takes a couple of hours start to finish, but I’d definitely make it on a weekend to entertain or just for Tim and me.
The recipe calls for fresh herbs, which I love to grow in the spring summer time. Clearly, it’s not quite herb-growing season here in Illinois right now. You can still buy them at the grocery store, but if you don’t want to or can’t for some reason, you could use dried herbs. Just use about half the amount as what you would use of the fresh, because dried herbs are stronger.
Garlic and Herb Roasted Chicken
- 1 four to five pound chicken
- 6 tablespoons of soft butter
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- about 6 sprigs of thyme
- 13-15 cloves of garlic
- 1 small lemon (or 1/2 of a large lemon), zested and quartered
- 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 to 1 cup of chicken stock
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch
- Splash of cold water – no more than 1/4 cup
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Finely chop 2 sprigs of rosemary and all of the thyme. In a small bowl, combine herbs with butter, the zest of the lemon, one clove of garlic, finely chopped or grated, and salt and pepper. Mash together with a fork until mixed well. Thoroughly wash chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Rub about two thirds of the butter over the outside of the chicken and under the skin on the breast side. Set the other one third of the butter aside.
Stuff the cavity of the chicken with 2 sprigs of rosemary, 4 cloves of garlic (slightly smashed), onion quarters, and lemon quarters. Tie legs of the chicken together with kitchen string.
Place chicken in roaster pan breast side down, and sprinkle 8-10 cloves of garlic (slightly smashed) around the outside of the chicken in the pan. Pour a bit of chicken stock in the pan just to moisten the garlic cloves so they don’t burn, about 1/2 cup or so. Lightly season top of chicken with salt and pepper.
Roast for 20 minutes.
Remove chicken from the oven and reduce heat to 375.
Turn chicken over, breast side up, and spread remaining one third of butter on the outside (breast side). Lightly season with salt and pepper. Bake for another hour to hour and fifteen minutes. Every 20 minutes, take the chicken out of the oven and baste it with the juices from the pan (I don’t have a baster, so I just use a brush). The chicken is done when the skin is browned, the internal temperature is 165, and the juices run clear.
To make the gravy, remove the chicken from the pan and place on serving platter. With a spatula or fork, smash the garlic cloves in the pan. Pour pan juices into a small sauce pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. (I don’t strain the pan juices, I just pick out any big unwanted floaters. If you want an ultra-smooth gravy, you could strain it, but then you are going to lose some of the wonderful roasted garlic bits.) In a small glass, mix together the corn starch and cold water with a fork or small whisk. Whisk corn starch mixture into the boiling pan juices. The gravy will start to thicken. If needed, you can add chicken stock to thin it out to your desired consistency. Once you get the gravy how you like it, turn off the heat because if you heat it too long, it will thin back out. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.