The basics of roasting a chicken are pretty straightforward. It’s all the possibilities for seasoning and flavoring that make it interesting. Lemon and thyme go together so well and made for a flavorful bird.
Roasting potatoes and leeks at the same time, allowing them to soak up all that flavor, makes this a one-dish meal.
I used what my kids call “the chicken sombreros”, roasting dishes that I bought years ago from Williams Sonoma. It’d be just as easy to put the birds straight into a roasting pan or use a can, as in Beer Butt Chicken, to hold them up.
Cooking for another crowded table, I used two decent-sized fryers. The big roasters just seem to take too long when I’ve procrastinated. The choice is yours.
- Fryers or Roasters, 2
- Red Potatoes
- Leeks, 2 or 3
- Lemons, 3 or 4
- Fresh Thyme
- Butter, 2 or 3 tablespooons
- White Wine, about 1/2 cup
Slice the leeks and soak them in cold water to remove the grit.
Slice the lemons.
Scrub the potatoes and cut them into quarters.
Rinse the chickens and pat them dry with paper towels. Lift the skin a little and slip two lemon slices along each breast. Slit the skin at the leg joints and stuff another lemon slice in there.
Shove a couple more lemon slices and a handful of thyme into the cavity.
Put the chicken in the pan and arrange the potatoes and leeks around the bottom, along with another 2 or 3 thyme springs.
Brush the chicken with melted butter and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper. Lemon pepper would be a good alternative.
Pour in just enough wine to barely cover the bottom. It’ll keep the vegetables moist but still allow them to roast. I also threw in another couple of lemon slices.
Put it all in a 375 degree oven and let it cook until the chicken is done. These took about 80-90 minutes but it depends on the size of the chickens. I use a meat thermometer to know when the temperature has reached 170. You can baste occasionally but I didn’t find it necessary.
Let the chicken stand for a few minutes before carving. Meanwhile, remove the spent thyme sprigs and lemon slices from the vegetables.
Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a platter. Spoon the pan drippings over everything before serving. Enjoy!