The Neglected Chicken

By ying
February 22, 2010
The Neglected Chicken

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

I love the flavour of a high-quality bird, so I don’t mess too much with it - just butter, lemon, a few herbs, and a fierce amount of salt. I do, however, commit skin heresy: I find there’s enough crisp deliciousness on the back & legs without worrying about the breast, so I cook it upside-down to get the silkiest breast meat. And the period of neglect was a happy accident. I was prepping a chicken, out-of-town friends called up, I went out, and roasted it the next day. I've since read about the technique in other places, among them Cooking for Mr. Latte.


Serves: 4


  • 1 3-lb free-range chicken
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs (I like tarragon or herbes de Provence) or 1 scant teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 lemon
In This Recipe


  1. The day before you roast the chicken, mix the butter, salt and herbs in a small bowl and rub them into the chicken, inside and out. Place breast-down on a plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 hours.
  2. The following day, move the chicken to a roasting pan and push the lemon half into its cavity. Roast at 375F for 75-90 minutes, or until your thermometer says it’s done. You can make a pan gravy with a little extra chicken stock, or just spoon the buttery juices over each portion. That’s it!

More Great Recipes:
Chicken|Make Ahead|Gluten-Free|Entree

Reviews (4) Questions (0)

4 Reviews

MrsK October 14, 2015
What a nice recipe! My experience is that the simple recipes are always surprisingly delicious. Thank you for sharing.
allie March 7, 2010
I also make my chicken upside down -- sometimes remember to prep ahead of time; sometimes not. We love chicken that's very tender so upside is a good trick.
Kelsey B. February 23, 2010
Since I prepare a lot of things ahead of time I've also left a bird in the fridge to absorb the seasoning for an afternoon (or so) - it works so well, I'm glad you highlighted it!
Author Comment
ying February 23, 2010
The difference is startling, isn't it!