Roast Lemon ChickenRoasting chicken is probably the simplest way to cook the bird but often the route most often plagued with mediocrity. I have had success simply putting the bastard in a Dutch oven and cooking it for an hour but, as usual, it is a Cooks Illustrated strategy that made it click. Simply put, they turn the bird at the halfway point to keep the breast meat from drying out. The real secret, though, is to up the heat at that point as well.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Brine the chicken for at least one hour. Remove and dry completely.
Cut 1 lemon lengthwise into quarters. Place lemon quarters and garlic in cavity of chicken. Thread long wooden skewer through flaps of skin on either side of cavity. Turn skewer and rethread back through skin flaps. Repeat stitching as necessary to shut cavity. Brush breast side of chicken with 1 tablespoon melted butter and season generously with pepper.
Place chicken breast-side down in a V-rack in a roasting pan, then brush back with remaining tablespoon melted butter and season generously with pepper.
Cook for 40 minutes. Remove the roasting pan and increase the temperature to 450 degrees. Flip the chicken to breast side up and add 1 cup of chicken broth to the pan.
Return the bird to the oven and cook about 40 minutes more.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Take the chicken to a cutting board and let rest uncovered.
Place the roasting pan over a medium high burner. Skim fat from drippings then add remaining chicken broth. Simmer liquid, scraping pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until reduced to half a cup. Remove from heat.
Discard lemons and garlic from chicken cavity. Cut the chicken into quarters. Pour accumulated chicken juices into roasting pan, then place chicken quarters in a serving platter.
Squeeze juice of one half the lemon into roasting pan; cut remaining half into 4 wedges and set aside. Whisk 2 tablespoons butter into sauce until combined; stir in parsley and thyme. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; serve chicken with sauce and lemon wedges.
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