The chicken is nothing fancy, but the trick is to cook it breast-side down, so that the breast
absorbs all the juices. It's amazing because when you take it out of the over there will literally be no juices left in the pan and the meat is really juicy and tender. As a testament to how delicious this chicken is, when my 3-year-old saw me preparing the chicken he said "Mama, I need to eat that chicken" and I told him we still had to cook it in the oven and he said "No! I need to eat that chicken NOW!"
Whole Roast Lemon Chicken with Basil:
1 Whole Chicken-giblets and neck removed and reserved for future use (homemade broth anyone?) and excess fat cut away from the cavity.
1 Whole Lemon
1 Bunch Fresh Basil
1 Stick Butter
Sea Salt & Pepper
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Salt and Pepper chicken all over. Place breast-down in roasting pan. Pierce lemon all over with a fork. Stuff lemon in the cavity. Melt butter in a saucepan and pour over and inside chicken. Sprinkle all over with basil. Pop in the oven for a few hours. Remove when chicken is puffed up, brown, and delicious-smelling. :) Transfer to a platter and garnish (I used "salad confetti" in the photo made from radicchio and broccoli), but you could also throw a few more sprigs of fresh basil around.
Cooking time for chicken: I believe the standard for a whole chicken is 1 hour per pound at 350 plus 20 minutes. But I like to cook them at a higher temp, 425-450 for roasting. So I usually eyeball it, but I think it would be about 3 hours for a 5 lb bird. I just take it out when it looks right and stick a knife in it and check that the meat is white and juices are running clear.
We rounded this meal our with wild rice, green beans, and a glass of Pinot Noir.