Roasted chicken is versatile, comforting, and, when cooked properly, sublime. Roasting a chicken breast-side-up simplifies the cooking process – placing an aromatic vegetable, such as a sliced onion, under the chicken alleviates the need to turn it over halfway through the cooking process. Elevating the chicken allows air to circulate under it and results a uniformly cooked preparation. Any aromatic vegetable, such as carrots, leeks or celery will fulfill the same purpose as the onion.
Heat the oven to 350 F. Remove the giblets, if any, from the cavity. Remove any excess fat from the cavity. Rinse the chicken and the cavity with cool-running water and pat dry with paper towels.
Brush a thin layer of olive oil over the chicken and inside the cavity. Liberally season the cavity with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Season the chicken to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
Place 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 2 sprigs fresh lemon thyme and 1 peeled clove of garlic in the cavity.
Tuck the legs under the chicken and tie securely with kitchen twine. Tuck the wings to the sides of the chicken manually – they will hold their position without twine.
Place one sliced onion on a sheet pan, in an area small enough so the chicken can sit atop it. Place the chicken, breast-side-up on the onions. Elevating the chicken allows air to circulate under it as it cooks. Place the chicken in the oven.
Roast the chicken for 40 minutes. Check its internal temperature by inserting a probe thermometer in the thigh, the breast and the wing – make sure it reads a minimum of 165 F.
Remove the lemon slices and herbs from the cavity. Glaze the chicken with a thin layer of olive oil prior to serving.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.