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Roasted Chicken Recipe

Inspired by her surroundings in Colorado, Illona Oppenheim shares her beautiful and simple recipes and photographs in her book "Savor Rustic Recipes Inspired by Forest, Field, and Farm." The ultimate in land-to-table dining, each meal is carefully crafted for optimal pleasure. Oppenheim writes, "The freshest chickens come straight from the farm, but you can also get a pastured chicken at better supermarkets. This roasted chicken can be served directly from the pan, where it's cooked with lots of lemon, garlic, and shallots. Spoon the caramelized shallots and sweet roasted garlic over the top."

RECIPE: Roasted Chicken

Serves: 6


  • One 4-pound pasture-raised whole chicken
  • 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs, finely chopped
  • 6 fresh parsley sprigs, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 heads of garlic, tops cut off, plus 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 4 lemons, cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons ghee (recipe follows)
  • 8 shallots, peeled and cut in half


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken; discard or save them to make broth or gravy. Rinse the chicken inside and out and dry with paper towels. Tuck the wings under the bird and truss the legs to keep them from drying out.
  3. In a small bowl, use a fork to mash together half the rosemary, thyme, and parsley with the butter and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper.
  4. Starting at the neck cavity, gently loosen the skin from the breasts and drumsticks; slide the butter mixture under the skin.
  5. Combine the 3 finely chopped garlic cloves and the juice from 2 of the lemon halves in a small bowl. Rub the mixture inside the cavity and on the outside of the chicken. Stuff the remaining herbs into the cavity and season the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  6. On the stove over low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the ghee in an extra-large ovenproof roasting pan. Add the shallots, cut side down, cover, and fry for 3 minutes. Add the remaining lemon halves and the garlic heads, cut side down, cover the pan, and fry for another 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables and lemons and set aside.
  7. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the remaining tablespoon ghee to the pan. Add the chicken, breast side up, and brown it, about 2 minutes. Turn it over and brown it for another 2 minutes. Return the vegetables and lemons to the pan. Place the pan in the oven.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip the chicken so the breast is up. Cook until the juice runs clear, about another 40 minutes. Let the chicken rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before carving. Transfer the chicken to a large platter. Squeeze the lemon halves over the chicken and spoon the garlic and shallots around the chicken before serving.


Yields: About 1¾ cups

Ghee is a type of clarified butter traditionally used in Indian cooking. Due to its high smoke point, it is great for high-temperature cooking and is a good alternative to vegetable oils. The process of making ghee is similar to that for clarified butter, but the butter is cooked for a longer time alongside the milk solids, which gives it that great nutty taste. Ghee is the butterfat that is left over after the water and milk solids are removed from the butter.

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) high-quality unsalted butter


  1. Cut the butter into squares and place in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the butter. After about 8 minutes, when the foam subsides and the butter turns a golden color, start stirring as it continues to simmer. When the butter foams a second time, after another 8 minutes, turn off the heat.
  2. Let the butter cool down for a couple of minutes. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Strain the butter through the cheesecloth. Discard the milk solids that remain in the cheesecloth.
  3. Store the ghee in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months. (Removing the milk solids inhibits spoilage, so it is okay to store at room temperature.) If you store it in the refrigerator, you can keep it for up to 1 year.

Excerpted from "Savor" by Ilona Oppenheim (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Ilona Oppenheim." Available at Amazon.

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