Although this is a roasted chicken, the freshness of the lemon and thyme will keep the chicken light, making it easy to pair with vegetables or a baked potato for a delicious spring dinner. It’s perfectly crispy and juicy with a little lemon in each bite. —Nicole Matheson
Remove the giblet bag and rinse the inside and outside of the chicken, pat dry and place in your roasting rack. You can also use a over-safe pan or dutch oven.
You will want to remove the collarbone (wish bone). To do this, feel around the top of the breasts for the v-shaped bone. Take a knife and cut a shallow incision on both sides of the bone. Place your thumb in the middle of the breasts at the bottom of the “v” and pop up and out. If it breaks, that's okay (even possibly good luck) just make sure to get all of the bone out.
Once you get the collarbone out, gently pull up and loosen the skin away from the breasts. Place the chicken breast-side up in the roasting rack.
Get the rest of your ingredients together. To avoid cross-contamination, anything you don’t use should be thrown away. One lemon should be halved, and you will need about 3-4 lemon slices.
Fill the cavity of the chicken with the aromatics; the halved lemon, a handful of thyme and two bay leaves.
Underneath the skin, stuff approximately 1 TBSP of butter cubes and 2 or 3 lemon slices. Set aside and save one lemon slice. Feel free to throw the remainder of slices into the cavity if they fit.
Rub the remainder of the butter and scrub the salt all over the top of the skin of the breasts and legs.
Truss the legs (optional). I didn’t think it’s necessary to truss the wing tips for this little bird. I actually didn’t even do an official truss on the legs, I just held the ankles together and tied them together tightly. This will keep the the legs cooking evenly and everything in the cavity from falling out.
Top the chicken with some thyme and one lemon slice.
Roast at 450F for 25 minutes. This is to start the browning process. After 25 minutes, remove the lemon and thyme from the top of the chicken and turn the oven down to 400F. Roast for another 20 minutes. Baste the chicken, I use a brush rather than a baster, you can also just use a spoon. The goal is to add the juice from the bottom of the pan to the top of the chicken, this will help develop the flavors and color of the chicken. Roast for another 20-25 minutes until the internal temperature is 165F and the juices run clear from the inside of the chicken. When you take the temperature make sure the thermometer is in the middle of the meat and not touching bone.
Rest for 20 minutes. Resting is important and it will not make the chicken cold. Resting allows the juices that have been pushed out to the sides as a result of the high roasting temperature to find their way back to the center of the chicken so that each bite is juicy and delicious.