Lemon and Thyme Roasted Chicken

Fresh spring flavors shine in this elegantly simple take on classic roasted chicken.

Lemon and Thyme Roasted Chicken
 
Makes about 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 large carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 5 large stalks celery
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons plus ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2¼ teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 (4½-pound) whole chickens, giblets discarded
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 4 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 medium head garlic
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Garnish: seared lemon slices, fresh thyme sprigs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Alternately arrange carrots, cut side down, and celery in a roasting pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine chopped thyme, zest, 2 tablespoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper.
  3. Pat chickens dry with paper towels. Gently loosen skin from chickens, keeping skin intact. Brush outside of chickens with 2 tablespoons oil. Rub thyme mixture under skin and over chickens. Place 2 onion quarters and 2 lemon halves in each chicken cavity. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Place chickens, breast side up, on carrots and celery in prepared pan. Arrange remaining onion quarters and thyme sprigs around chicken.
  4. Cut ½ inch off top end of garlic, keeping cloves intact. Place garlic, cut side up, on foil. Drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and wrap garlic in foil; add to pan. Loosely cover with foil.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°. Uncover and bake until garlic is softened, about 30 minutes more. Remove garlic. Continue baking chickens until a meat thermometer inserted in center registers 170°, about 1 hour more. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  6. Discard carrots and celery. Squeeze garlic pulp into a small bowl; mash with a fork. Scrape drippings from bottom of pan, and strain, reserving drippings. Add enough broth to drippings to equal 1 cup.
  7. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup drippings, mashed garlic, lemon juice, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook over medium heat until heated through. Serve with chicken. Garnish with lemon slices and thyme, if desired.

 

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