One Small Chicken 2.5-3.5 lbs
Fresh Thyme and Honey Butter:
4 oz soft (room temperature) butter
1.5 Tbsp Honey
2 -3 Sprigs of Fresh thyme, picked from stem and chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
Rinse the chicken and pat dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Remove any loose fat and be sure inner cavity is completely dry.
For the butter mix all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl or food processor. The butter should be soft, not melted. Also, avoid any bits of stem from the thyme, use only the leaves. Set aside once complete.
With the cavity of the chicken facing you slide a finger under the skin. Starting with the breasts, gently create a pocket under the skin, taking care not to tear the skin. Next, separate the skin from the thighs with the tip of your finger.
With the cavity still facing you, use your fingers to spread the thyme honey butter under the skin in the pocket you have just created. Push the butter into the thighs and liberally across the breast; be gentle throughout this process.
Season the outside of the chicken and the inner cavity with salt and pepper. Tuck the wing tips behind themselves. Cover loosely with a paper towel and refrigerate.
To Roast the Chicken:
Preheat the oven to 475°
In a shallow roasting pan, place the chicken breast side up in the center of the oven. After about 30 minutes, baste the chicken with any pan dripping that have accumulated in the bottom of the roasting pan and turn the chicken over. Reduce the temperature to 450°. Roast for another 10 -20 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken, then turn the bird over again and roast another 5-10 minutes. Overall cooking time should be 45-60 minutes. The skin should be crispy, golden brown and any juices running from the bird should be clear.
Carefully remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest 5 minutes. Lift the chicken from the pan and place on the center of a plate pour any pan dripping back over the chicken.
Serve while hot with oven roast potatoes and green beans for a delicious meal.
*Recipe and image courtesy of Dan Lorig of Honeydrop Beverages.*