This simple sheet-pan recipe draws its inspiration from my time living and working in the southwest of France, where roast chicken is a staple. To enhance the flavors, I used an herby compound butter under the chicken's skin, roasted delicata squash (you can use any squash in season) in a maple glaze, and used the chicken's backbone to make a savory pan sauce. It not only makes a great Sunday supper, but is also an impressive dinner party dish you can prepare ahead of time. —Palak Patel
Cut the top off the squash and scoop out the seeds. Cut the squash into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds. In a bowl, whisk together the 2 tablespoons melted butter, maple syrup, and 1 Bou cube. Toss the squash with the butter mixture. Arrange the squash on a baking sheet. (Optional: If you don’t want the squash to cook in the chicken fat, prepare the pan first with a wire rack.)
Place your oven rack in the upper-middle position and preheat the oven to 450°F.
Remove the spine from the chicken using a pair of sharp kitchen shears or a heavy knife. Then cut the spine into 1-inch-long pieces (there should be about 5 to 6 pieces total) and save for later. Place the chicken skin-side up on the cutting board and flatten it by applying firm pressure to the breastbone. For the most even cooking, allow the chicken to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting.
Meanwhile, make the flavored butter. In a small mixing bowl, combine 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter and 1 Bou cube, along with the parsley, lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 pinch black pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon). Mash with a fork for a couple of minutes until the lemon juice is mostly incorporated into the butter. Spread the mixture under the chicken skin evenly.
Drizzle the chicken with the neutral oil. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon kosher salt, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Sprinkle all over the chicken. (Adding baking powder will make the chicken skin extra crispy.) Place the chicken on top of the squash rounds.
Roast the chicken for about 45 minutes in the oven, or until thickest part of the breast near the bone registers 150°F on an instant-read thermometer and the joint between the thighs and body registers at least 175°F. Don't over-bake or the breast will be dry. Keep in mind the internal temperature will rise another 5 to 10 degrees after it comes out of the oven.
Meanwhile, make the pan sauce. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken spine pieces you saved earlier and cook, stirring often, until they are well browned (about 3 minutes). Add the Bou cube and 1 cup water, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove the reserved chicken spine pieces. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the butter and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Once the chicken reaches the correct temperatures, remove it from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Tent the chicken loosely with foil, and allow it to rest 10 minutes before carving. Serve with the sauce and a simple cucumber salad, if you like.