In this recipe a compound butter—softened butter combined with herbs, lemon zest and garlic—adds flavor to a roast chicken for a one-dish meal that’s easy enough for a family Sunday supper but also elegant enough for guests.
Herbed Roast Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Red Onions
1 chicken, about 4 lb. (2 kg)
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3 lemons, halved
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh chives
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus 2 garlic heads, halved crosswise
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) butter, at room temperature
2 small red onions, halved through the stem end
2 Tbs. olive oil
Preheat an oven to 450°F (220°C).
Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Season the chicken inside and out with the salt and pepper and place two of the lemon halves inside the chicken cavity. Tuck the wing tips behind the back and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
In a small bowl, stir together the chives, thyme, oregano, parsley, tarragon, lemon zest and chopped garlic. Add the butter and stir until herb mixture is well incorporated.
Starting at the cavity, slip your fingers underneath the chicken skin and loosen it all over, being careful not to tear it and reaching as far as possible into the thigh area. Using your fingers, rub the butter mixture under the skin, distributing it as evenly as possible.
Place the chicken, breast side up, in a sauté or fry pan and add the remaining lemons halves, garlic heads and red onions to the pan and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast the chicken until the skin is well browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, registers 170°F (77°C), 50 to 60 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve immediately with the roasted lemons, garlic and red onions alongside. Serves 4 to 6.
Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen