Top | A Bird in the Oven and Then Some

Roast Chicken with Mustard Butter

(recipe, Mindy Fox)

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Dijon mustard and a good slab of butter are staples in my fridge. Here, they work together nicely to flavor this simple bird. A simple sauté of mustard or other greens, as well as scalloped potatoes, make nice sides.


  1. 1 whole chicken (4 pounds)
  2. 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  3. 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
  4. 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  5. 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage
  6. 1 lemon
  7. Flaky coarse sea salt
  8. Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with the rack in the middle.
  2. Pull off excess fat around the cavities of the bird and discard, then rinse the chicken and pat it dry very well, inside and out. From the edge of the cavity, slip a finger under the skin of each of the breasts, then gently but thoroughly loosen the skin from the meat of the breasts and thighs.
  3. Put the butter, shallot, mustard, and sage in a bowl. Finely zest the lemon into the bowl, holding the zester close so that you capture the flavorful oil that sprays from the lemon as you zest. Mix all the ingredients together to combine thoroughly.
  4. Using your hands and working with about 1 tablespoon of the butter mixture at a time, gently push the mixture into the spaces you created between the chicken skin and the meat, being careful not to tear the skin. As you work the mixture in, gently rub your hand over the outside of the skin to smooth out the mixture and push it further down between the skin and meat where you may not be able to reach with your hand.
  5. Cut the lemon into quarters and stuff the pieces into the cavity of the bird. Tie together the legs with kitchen string. Season the chicken all over, using 2 to 3 teaspoons of coarse salt and generous pepper.
  6. Put a roasting pan (not nonstick) or 9-by-13-inch baking dish in the over to heat for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and immediately put the chicken into the pan, breast side up.
  7. Roast for 35 minutes, then rotate the pan and reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Continue roasting, basting with the juices occasionally, until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a fork, or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees, 25 to 35 minutes more.
  8. Remove the bird from the oven and let it rest in the pan for 15 minutes, then baste with the juices.
  9. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes, then carve and serve with the pan juices and extra salt for sprinkling.