Makes 4 servings. Difficulty
One 3-1/2 pound free range chicken Salt & freshly ground black pepper 2 small lemons, quartered 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, divided 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature 1/4 cup dry white wine
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Remove leaves of 1 thyme sprig and mince. Combine with butter.
Season cavity of chicken generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place lemon quarters and thyme sprigs in cavity and truss chicken. Rub outside of chicken with thyme butter and generously season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place chicken, breast side down, on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast in center of oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Turn chicken and continue to roast for 30 more minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and turn chicken breast side down, at an angle so that it’s head end is down and tail is in the air. Roast until juices run clear, about 15-20 minutes.
Remove roasting pan from oven and season chicken generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer chicken to a carving board and place it at an angle against a plate so that it’s head end points down and tail end is in the air. Loosely tent with foil and let rest.
Meanwhile, place roasting pan over medium heat and cook, scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan until liquid is somewhat caramelized. Spoon off any excess fat. Deglaze pan with white wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened.
Remove lemons from cavity of chicken. Carve chicken into serving pieces and transfer them to a warmed platter. Squeeze lemon juice from the lemon quarters over chicken pieces. Strain sauce and pour it into a gravy boat. Serve immediately.