1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chicken, backbone removed and butterflied (My chicken was about 5 pounds.)
3 tablespoons lemon zest (From 3 lemons.)
1/3 cup lemon juice (From same 3 lemons.)
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475*F. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and place in roasting pan. Combine lemon zest, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in small bowl. Rub 2 tablespoons zest mixture under skin of chicken at the thighs and breasts. Season chicken with salt and pepper. (Seasoned chicken can be refrigerated for 2 hours.)
2. Whisk broth, 1 cup water, lemon juice, and remaining zest mixture in 4-cup liquid measuring cup, then pour into roasting pan. (Liquid should just reach skin of thighs. If it does not, add enough water to reach skin of thighs.) Roast until skin is golden brown and thigh meat registers 170 to 175*F, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and let rest 20 minutes.
3. Pour liquid from pan, along with any accumulated chicken juices, into saucepan. (The recipe says you should have 1 1/2 cups, I had closer to 2 1/2 cups.) Skim fat, then cook over medium-high until reduced to 1 cup, about 5-15 minutes. Whisk cornstarch with remaining water in small bowl until no lumps remain, then whisk into saucepan. Simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Carve chicken and serve, passing sauce at table.
Have I ever mentioned that I love roast chickens? I do! And I was scared of them for so long since they just seemed complicated and time consuming! What a fool I was. This recipe is from the 2009 Cook's Country Annual and it’s a bit non-traditional since it involves butterflying the chicken for even cooking. And it worked! The lemon flavor was also very powerful in a perfect sort of way. The sauce was wonderful and the three of us devoured most all of the chicken in one sitting.