In my house, we absolutely adore a whole roast chicken. Our local grocery store sells a brand of chicken that is farmed responsibly, raised without antibiotics, sourced locally so there is a small carbon footprint, and tastes delicious when cooked. So we buy them as often as possible, we’re happy to support them and give them our business. Compound butter is one of the best ways to easily prep a whole chicken for maximum flavor. The beautiful thing about compound butter is that you can flavor it however you want. You are only limited by your imagination. You can make it herb-heavy, you can use spices, you can use tons of garlic and even ginger. How it works is you simply mix your flavorings with softened butter and then stick huge gobs of it under the skin of the breasts and dot it over the legs and thighs. Most recipes will say to evenly spread the butter over the legs and thighs. I’ve tried many times, and I just don’t know their secret for making the butter remain on the chicken and not come off onto your fingers. If anyone knows how this works, please leave a comment and let me know! I’ve found it’s far less frustrating to just dot the butter around and let the hot oven do the work. This particular compound butter was very flavorful and the chicken was so moist and tender. It’s a winner for us. Enjoy!
Source: Emeril Lagasse, “20-40-60”
4 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbs minced shallots
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 whole chicken, about 3-4 lbs, excess fat and giblets removed, rinsed and patted dry
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
In a small bowl, combine the butter with the shallots, parsley, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Place a dab (about 1 tbs) of butter inside the cavity of the chicken, then sprinkle the cavity with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Use your fingers to gently loosen the skin covering the breast, and place 1/2 tbs of butter under the skin on each side of the breast. Use another tbs to dot each of the legs and thighs. Reserve the remaining tbs for brushing on the cooked chicken.
Tuck the wing tips behind the bird and tie the legs securely together with kitchen twine. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper all over the chicken. Set in a large shallow roasting pan or a large cast-iron skillet. Roast in the oven until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast, not touching bone, reads 165 F. Remove the chicken and dot the remaining compound butter over it. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes. Carve it and serve it!