I’ll admit it: When it comes to making roast chicken, I’m lazy. There are techniques that have you rotating the bird every few minutes so that it turns browns evenly, but I like to pop it in the oven and not think about it again (aside from swooning over the scent) until the timer goes off for good. And good—very good—is what we’ve found this roast chicken to be. You don’t have to use an organic, free-range chicken, but we’ve found that it pays off in both flavor and juiciness.

simplest-roast-chicken
1 (3-1/2 pound) good-quality chicken (take this to mean what you like: free-range, locally-raised, organic . . . just preferably not a brine-injected, mass-produced one)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 thyme sprigs
1 lemon, halved lengthwise

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Gently work your fingertips under the breast, leg and thigh, and rub meat with salt and pepper (I like to fill a separate little ramekin with a mix of salt and pepper to do this so I don’t get my pepper grinder all chicken-y). Sprinkle more salt and pepper on top of skin and in cavity. Stuff the thyme sprigs under the skin and the lemon halves into the cavity.

Roast on a V-rack in a roasting pan, breast side up, for 60-75 minutes, until the legs pull away easily and the juices run clear. Let chicken stand at room temperature for 15 minutes (tent it with foil to keep it warm) before carving.

Serves 4

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