Classic Herbed Roast Chicken


1 (5-pound) chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 small handfuls of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley, marjoram), finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 lemon, halved
4 fresh bay leaves
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary


Preheat oven and a roasting tray to 400°F. Wash chicken inside and out; pat it as dry with paper towels. Rub the cavity with salt. Carefully grab the skin at the tip of the chicken breast and pull up gently. With your other hand, gently separate the skin from the breast meat. Sprinkle a little salt in the gaps and push in as much of the chopped herbs as you can. Drizzle in a little olive oil. Stuff the chicken with lemon, bay leaf and rosemary and whatever may be left of the fresh herbs. Pull the skin of the chicken breast forward so that none of the actual flesh is exposed, tuck the wings under, and truss with kitchen twine.  Rub a little olive oil into the skin of the chicken and season generously with salt and pepper. Remove the hot tray from the oven and add a little oil. Put the chicken on one side, breast side down, on the tray and put back in the oven. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, and then turn it over on to the other side, breast side down. Cook for another 5 minutes and then place the chicken on its back. Cook for 1 hour. The chicken is done when the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into both the chicken breast and thigh, about 165-170°F for the breast and 180-185°F for the thigh. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.