Friendsgiving has become a popular November dinner party. Roasting an entire turkey for a group of friends can be a daunting task, so consider a fall-flavored roasted chicken instead. The brown butter gives this dish a toasty flavor, while maple syrup ensures a tiny hint of autumn sweetness.
4 to 6 servings
- 5 Tbsps salted butter
- 2 Tbsps pure maple syrup
- 1 (4–5 pound) whole chicken – giblets removed
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 1 bunch thyme, plus 2 tsp minced
- 1 bunch sage, plus 2 tsp minced
Place butter in a pan over medium heat and let it cook down without touching or moving it until it’s brown and toasty. You’ll be able to smell it. Take off the heat and stir in the maple syrup. Transfer to a rimmed plate or shallow bowl and put in the fridge until it starts to harden but is still soft enough to spread—about 15 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400F. Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a cast-iron skillet and season the cavity liberally with salt and pepper, then stuff with the thyme and sage bunches. Rub the chicken all over with the soft maple butter, reserving about 2 Tbsps to put underneath the skin of the breasts.
To do that, loosen the skin at the top with your fingers, pulling the skin away from the breast. Spoon the butter underneath the skin then squeeze all the way down. Salt and pepper the outside of the chicken liberally on all sides then sprinkle with herbs. Keeping the chicken breast side up, tuck the wings under and tie the legs together using kitchen string.
Place the pan in the middle rack of your oven. If it’s too close to the top, the breast skin will burn). Roast for about 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the temperature reaches 165F with a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. Let rest for at least 15 minutes, then carve the chicken into pieces and slice the breast meat. Brush the chicken pieces with all the melted butter in the bottom of the cast iron. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Andrea LeTard is the creator and author of Andrea’s Cooktales, an heirloom cookbook. She is also a personal chef, small party caterer, and cooking instructor. Andrea has been featured on Cooking Channel, Today Show, and Local Memphis Live. She was chosen as a Top 100 Contestant on MasterChef Season 6. Her recipes are “next-generation southern”—fun and fundamentally southern with a modern twist. Follow Andrea on Facebook, Instagram (@andreas_cooktales), and her video blog series at Andreascooktales.com.
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