1 3-5lb chicken
NOTE: we bought ours with the help of a good friend from a local farmer who delivers them frozen. They are very fresh. We also happened to purchase half chickens which reduces leftovers.
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened, divided
2 medium lemons, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove giblets from the cavity and discard (they are high in tyramine) or save for another use (we gave ours to the dog as a treat). Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
Rub the outside of the chicken with 1 tbsp of the softened butter. Grate the zest of 1 lemon, reserving the lemon, and mix the zest with the remaining 2 tbsp butter and parsley. Rub this gently under the skin along the breast meat being careful not to tear the skin. Sprinkle the inside and outside of the bird with salt and pepper. Pierce the whole lemon with a sharp knife and put it into the cavity of the chicken.
Place the chicken, breast side up, on a rack and set the rack in a roasting pan. Cut the zested lemon in half and the juice over the chicken.
Roast for 20 minutes and reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue roasting until the chicken is done - about 45 minutes for a 3lb bird. Add about 10 minutes per pound for larger ones. Set the chicken on a warm platter for 5-10 minutes, then carve.
NOTE: You can substitute oranges for lemons or omit the lemons and add 1 tsp chili powder to the butter and squeeze the juice of a lime over the chicken to mix up the flavors.