Roast Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, and Fresh Rosemary

(recipe, Diane Morgan, Dan Taggart, Kathleen Taggart)


Roast chicken—a perfect Sunday night supper. Cook 2 birds for guaranteed leftovers. Butter, lemon, garlic, and rosemary flavor the birds, but the possibilities are endless. When blood oranges are in season, try substituting them for the lemons, leaving out the garlic and using fresh mint instead of rosemary.


  1. 2 whole fresh chickens (4½ to 4¾ pounds each)
  2. ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  3. Juice of 2 lemons (quarter and reserve squeezed lemons)
  4. 4 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
  5. Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  6. 6 sprigs fresh rosemary, each about 3 inches long


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the sacks of giblets from the chickens. Freeze the neck, heart, and gizzards for stock; fry the liver for a four-legged friend. Pull out and discard any large fat deposits from the cavities of the chicken. Trim any loose skin and trim off the tails. Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup, unless the pan is nonstick. Place a roasting rack or large wire cake rack in the pan. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Heat through.
  3. Set the chickens on the roasting rack, breast-side up. Place 3 rosemary sprigs and 4 lemon quarters in each cavity. Brush the seasoned butter on the birds, coating them well. Place the roasting pan in the lower half of the oven and roast, basting every 20 minutes, until the juices run clear when a sharp knife is inserted into the joint between the body and thigh, or when an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F inserted at the same point, about 1 hour.
  4. Remove the chickens from the oven, baste again, and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Leave 1 chicken to cool completely. Let the other chicken rest for 10 minutes, then carve and serve. Cut the other chicken in half, wrap each half well, and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.