Lemon-Thyme Roast Chicken: Easy and Flavorful

Chicken ranks as my favorite fowl. Mild in flavor and quite versatile, chicken can be stretched to feed a crowd. It also remains relatively inexpensive — at least compared to beef and fish.

When young, single, on a tight budget and not into cooking for one, I would roast a chicken Sunday evening and enjoy it much of the week. I would continue that practice, but my husband prefers variety in his diet. Still, we eat more chicken than any other meat.

Four years ago, I learned the method of “spatchcocking,” which involves removing the backbone, breaking the breastbone and pressing the bird flat. It is very similar to a split chicken, but it keeps the bird in one piece versus two. 

At the time, I wanted to have the perfect turkey, with all parts tender and moist, not dry. I found this method produces a more evenly cooked bird, much juicier meat and crispier skin. It also makes carving the bird much easier.


Ingredients

1 three-pound chicken, spatchcocked
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons thyme 

3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 
Zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup fresh lemon juice 
½ cup olive oil


Directions

After marinating, the “spatchcocked” chicken takes about an hour to roast.

After marinating, the “spatchcocked” chicken takes about an hour to roast.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Spatchcock it, removing the backbone, breaking the breastbone and pressing the bird so it will lay flat. 

Mix the salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, lemon zest, juice and olive oil in a small bowl.

Place the chicken in a re-sealable bag and add the marinade, covering the bird. Seal and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or overnight. 

Third minutes before cooking, remove chicken from fridge (leave in the marinade) to take off some of the chill. 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a roasting pan and brush with a little more marinade. Cook until the chicken turns golden brown — about one hour. Transfer chicken and let rest for 10 minutes.