The Roast Chicken is a simple, nourishing, inexpensive, staple recipe that everyone should be able to prepare. There’s a hundred ways to make it but this is my favorite.
If you ask any accomplished home or professional cook, there’s a good chance they’ll tell you Thomas Keller owns the perfect roast chicken. It’s properly trussed with salt and pepper and that’s about it. Jaques, Martha, Gordon, Kenji, Alton, Julia; they all have their variations on the perfectly roasted chicken. Some are slight variations from Keller’s and some are a little more complex. I suggest you give them all a try and see which you like the best. I hope you’ll give the Eat Up! Kitchen Split Roast Chicken a try as well!
Like Keller, I believe in simplicity. If you’re able to get a farm fresh chicken from a local purveyor, you don’t need much more than salt and pepper to flavor your naturally delicious bird. Then again… who doesn’t love some gravy on their chicken?! Stuffing lemons in the cavity or herbed butter under the skin seems like a good idea but really, is it worth the effort? You’ve got all these juices left in the pan loaded with flavor!
I’m taking the path less travelled when it comes to trussing this chicken. And by the path less travelled I mean I’m forging my own path. Spatchcocking is the process of removing the backbone then ‘opening’ and flattening the chicken. This gives you more surface area for faster roasting times and more even cooking. I think it’s great but… why aren’t we just cutting the chicken in half to start with?
Split roasting this seven and a half pound chicken only took 50 minutes.
To split the chicken in half, remove the back bone with scissors then take a chef’s knife and cut right down the center of the breast bone from the inside out. Because the carcass is now flat instead of standing up vertically, its easier to dust with salt and pepper and to do some basting when the time comes.
Preheat the oven to 550. Line a cooking tray with foil or silpat and cover with onions, celery, carrots, and lemon. Place the chicken on top, generously dust with salt and pepper and some olive oil. Blast with high heat for 10 minutes. Lower the temp to 425 and cook for another 20. Remove the chicken for it’s first basting. Add a couple tablespoons of butter and some lemon juice to the top of the chicken. Baste every 5-10 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 155°F then baste one final time. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Now we have a whole roasting pan full of juices from the chicken, vegetables, olive oil, butter, lemon, salt and pepper. Transfer all of this to a medium sauce pan and add the juice of half a lemon and some fresh springs of thyme. Heat over medium heat while adding a bit of corn starch for thickening. If you have white wine, by all means, please pour me a glass as well. You might enjoy subbing in a bit for that lemon juice while you’re at it.
Carve the chicken and plate with the vegetables and lots of gravy. Get yourself some buttered Italian bread or some mushroom risotto to sop up all that delicious gravy. It’s loaded with deep lush flavors cut with the bright citrusy lemon juice and fresh thyme. It doesn’t really get better than this! I don’t care how good your upright lemon stuffed, butter herbed chicken skin looks – this taste better and it cooks in half the time.
Eat Up! Kitchen Split Roast Chicken
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 carrots
- 2 lemons
- fresh thyme
- olive oil
- unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 550°F.
- Set chicken out on the counter wrapped in paper towels. This will bring it to room temp for faster cooking and remove all surface moisture for drier skin.
- Clean and prep vegetables. Slice onions, carrots, celery, lemons about 1/4 thick and spread on top of lined baking sheet. This will prop the chicken up from the hot surface of the pan as well as develop deep rich flavor from the caramelized vegetables.
- Make sure chicken is thoroughly dried then split in half. Remove back bone with scissors and split breast in half from the inside out with a large chefs knife. Lay on top of vegetables and dust generously with salt and pepper. lightly coat with olive oil.
- Place pan in hot oven for 10 minutes. Lower temp to 425°F and roast 20 minutes. Remove from oven, check internal temp, place 1-2 tablespoons butter on top of chicken and the juice of half a lemon. Depending on temp, baste and check temp every 5-10 minutes until internal temp is 155°F and skin is dark golden brown.
- Transfer chicken to a tray or large dish to rest for 15 minutes and collect juices. In a medium sauce pan, heat all the juices and vegetables from the cooking tray. In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp cornstarch and some water. Add to sauce pan and mix well. Add collected chicken juices and simmer for a few minutes.
- Carve chicken and serve with Lemon Thyme Gravy.