There comes a time in every girl’s life when she has to stick her hand up a dead bird.
Well at least if that girl wishes to have roast chicken.
I shan’t deny that I am thoroughly squicked by touching raw meat. I know that it is a funny confession for a self admitted foodie to make, but it’s true.
When it comes to touching raw meat I am a tongs kinda girl. And if it touches my hand by accident, I am a hand washing kinda gal. I dislike the way that raw meat feels and the way it makes my hands smell.
Still, there is virtually no better method to impart flavor to whole chicken than to rub that baby down between the skin and the meat with some kind of tasty mixture.
This is why God invented gloves.
The important thing to remember is that you must show your chicken who is boss. Stare is down from a distance then when it is mesmerized by your wantonly predatory gaze, pounce on it from the front and with a powerful single motion wrestle it over onto its back, holding it immobilized and helpless!
This of course assumes that you have already put on your rubber gloves mid stride. This may take some practice and require the assistance of a skilled chiropractor.
Once the chicken is held helpless it must be massaged all over to within an inch of its…er…death with salt and pepper.
While it is basking comfortably in the after glow of its massage, lulled into a false sense of security, you must strike. Quickly, decisively working from the legs you must insert your hand beneath the chicken skin and with sharp karate strokes separate the skin from the meat.
I know that this is difficult but you must always remember that you are dispatching an enemy of the state. Well maybe not an enemy of THE state, but at least a tasty fowl of state.
Mission accomplished you can congratulate yourself on a job well done by stuffing the newly created pocket with your fragrant herb mixture and resume the massage. Don’t forget the legs.
I know it seems cruel but it is the only way to win the enemy’s…er…chicken’s confidence and get to its tasty, juicy secrets.
When the chicken is suitably pliable, ease it onto its chest into your roasting pan and stuff it full of lemons. Go on. It won’t mind. It’s putty in your hands.
Very carefully now… so that it won’t suspect a thing, pick it up and ease it into your 350 degree oven. Middle rack. Now walk away.
Let it stew in its own juices for half an hour before you come back and flip it.
Brush its skin with a mixture of honey and lemon and roast it till it’s good an ready, repeating the basting right near the end.
Remove it from the oven and tent it for 15 minutes to let it rest.
Now that it’s good and ready, show off your handy work.
Ok so the chicken isn’t the enemy but admit it; it’s a lot more fun than a normal description of how to roast a chicken.
And the truth is, that rubbing down the chicken this way with a mixture of herbs and lemon zest perfumes the meat beautifully, creating a chicken that is far from ordinary.
The honey-lemon glaze coaxed out a stunning golden colored skin with just a hint of sweetness.
This is chicken good enough for company, but easy enough for every day.
Lemon Scented, Herb Roasted Chicken
1 whole chicken, trimmed of fat
3 tablespoons mixed herbs 
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons honey (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 350.
Zest your lemons and squeeze out all of the juice. Quarter the remaining lemons and set aside.
Mix the lemon juice with the honey. Microwave the honey if necessary to keep from sticking. There should be a little more lemon juice then there is honey.
Wash the chicken inside and out. Pat dry. Rub chicken all over with salt and pepper. Don’t forget inside the cavity.
Chop the herbs finely. Add crushed garlic and zest. Mash with a fork or mortar and pestle until well combined. Add olive oil and mix thoroughly.
Using the tips of your fingers, gently slide your hand between the skin of the chicken and the breast meat, loosening it with short motions. Free the skin of the breast and the outside of the thighs.
Spoon the herb-zest mixture into the skin and rub into the meat of the breast and thigh.
Take the lemon quarters and stuff into the chicken’s cavity. The zest will perfume the meat from above while the lemons steam flavor from below for an unforgettable lemon flavor.
Flip the chicken breast side down in your roasting pan and place into the oven. Placing it breast side down for the first half hour allow the juices to run into the breast and keep the meat moist during the rest of the cooking process.
After half an hour, flip the chicken onto its back and baste with the honey lemon mixture. Be sure to get the wings and legs.
Allow to cook until almost done. Baste again and return to the oven.
If the breast is finished before the legs, cover it with a piece of foil to keep it from drying out.
The chicken is ready when the meat registers 175  on an instant read thermometer and the legs wriggle freely.
Remove the chicken from the oven. Cover with foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
Carve over potatoes or crusty bread  to catch all of the wonderful herbaceous juices.
 I used rosemary, thyme, and sage but that is what I hand on hand. You can really use any herb mixture you like or just a single herb. However the herbs should be fresh not dried.
 Poultry is safe to eat at 180 degrees but it continues cooking after it has been removed from the oven so removing it at 175 will keep it from overcooking.
 This is fantastic over croûtons. Take day old bread, cut into cubes and sauté in a mixture of butter and olive oil until browned. The browned croûtons stand up well to the moist juices keeping their shape even when doused.