Juicy Whole Roasted Chicken straight from your oven....yum. Crispy, golden-brown skin, unbelievable flavor, and so very juicy! Easy-to-make whole chicken in the oven requires little effort, yet looks like you've worked all day in the kitchen.
1small bundle of your favorite fresh herbs, optional I like a bundle of rosemary, thyme and sage
1lemon, quartered optional
1head garlic, cut in half crosswise, skin can be left in tactoptional
2Tbs.unsalted butter, divided use softened
1Tbs.fresh lemon zest
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepperto taste
1yellow onioncut into thick slices
1 ½cupschicken stock, for making gravy optional
3Tbs.all-purpose flour, for making gravy optional
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Unpackage the chicken, removing the packet of giblets and etc that's inside the chicken; rinse the chicken inside and out, then pat dry the exterior of the chicken with paper towels. Place the chicken into a large well greased stoneware roaster or any roasting pan.
Combine 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter with the lemon zest. Using your fingers, carefully separate the chicken skin from breast of chicken, placing the prepared lemon butter under the skin. (You may find it easier to place the lemon butter up under the skin using a silicon spatula.) Take care not to poke any holes in the chicken skin when placing and smoothing the butter. Now, using your hand again, press on top of the skin across the breast on each side, smoothing out the butter that was placed beneath.
Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the herb bundle, lemon quarters, and both halves of the garlic head, as desired, if using. (If you opt to do this step, note that the fresh herbs will look awful when the chicken comes out of the oven. You can replace them with fresh herbs if desired, if slicing and serving the whole chicken at the dinner table.) Melt the remaining 1 Tbs. unsalted butter; brush this over the outside of the chicken; season with salt and pepper. Now scatter the onion slices around the chicken.
Roast the chicken, uncovered, in the preheated 425 degree F. oven on the center rack for 30 minutes. The skin should be pretty golden brown at this point. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and continue to roast for an additional 50-55 minutes or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of the breast registers 155 degrees F., the chicken juices run clear, and the skin is golden brown and crispy. Remove chicken to a serving platter and tent with aluminum foil while preparing the gravy.
If you want to make the gravy, discard the cooked onion slices, then remove all the fat from the bottom of roasting pan, reserving 2 tablespoons. Add the reserved 2 Tbs. of fat and drippings from the roasting pan to a large skillet, cooking over medium heat; add the flour to the skillet, whisking well for 1-2 minutes to blend with the fat and drippings together, allowing the flour to cook a bit.
Remove the skillet from the heat. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock, a small amount at a time, until well incorporated and smooth. Return the skillet to the burner, continuing to cook over medium heat, whisking until the gravy is thick and creamy. Cut the chicken breasts into slices and serve at once with the warm gravy.