We make roasted chicken almost every week. It’s easy for us to do and we can enjoy it as roasted chicken or turn it into chicken salad, chicken soup or whatever else we dream up. One twist we’ve added is to roast two lemons at the same time as the chicken. This way, they become slightly sweeter and are perfect for making a simple sauce to drizzle over the cooked chicken.
By butterflying the chicken, it will cook slightly faster, but more importantly, it will cook more evenly than if we were to roast it normally. Also, we love that all the skin browns nicely since it’s all facing up. If you would prefer, skip butterflying the chicken and roast normally — it will just take a little longer.
1 (3 1/2 pound) whole chicken, patted dry
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 small onions, peeled and quartered
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 lemons, halved
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Position the chicken so that the back is facing up and the drumsticks are pointing towards you. Using poultry or sharp kitchen scissors cut down one side of the backbone. Then, cut down the other side of the backbone, removing it completely. (You can reserve the backbone for stock later). Flip the chicken so the skin is facing up and press it down towards the work surface so it flattens slightly.
Rub the chicken on both sides with a little olive oil then season both sides with salt, pepper, and about 1 tablespoon of rosemary. Place the chicken breast-side up onto the baking sheet and tuck the tips of the wings under the chicken.
Toss vegetables with 1 tablespoon of oil, remaining rosemary, salt, and pepper. Scatter the vegetables around the chicken on baking sheet.
Place halved lemons, cut side up, around the vegetables and chicken. Roast the chicken and vegetables until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F, about 1 hour. After 30 minutes of roasting, rotate the baking sheet and toss vegetables so they cook evenly.
Once roasted, transfer chicken to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil then let rest about 10 minutes.
Use tongs to squeeze juice from roasted lemons into a small bowl. Pour any juices left on the baking sheet into the bowl. Add mustard then whisk. Taste then add a little oil, salt, and pepper as needed. (We usually add about a tablespoon of olive oil to tone down the tart lemon.
Slice chicken or cut into quarters. Serve alongside roasted vegetables drizzled with the roasted lemon vinaigrette.