My first time making a whole chicken! (I know, it’s about time!) This is really easy to make but it requires some prep work and waiting. Not to worry, though: it’s oven-baked, so you can go about doing other things you want to do while your dinner cooks.
1 whole chicken (mine was about 5 lbs.)
3 lemons (1 for placing inside the chicken cavity, so wash and scrub it well; 2 for squeezing the juice out)
A generous helping each of salt, pepper, and dried parsley (I go crazy with the parsley!)
Preheat the oven to 400F. Remove the giblets from the chicken cavity (they might still be frozen if you de-frosted your chicken). I thawed my chicken for three full days in the refrigerator and the giblets were still frozen and wrapped neatly in a bag. You can use the giblets for stock and other dishes, but since this was my first time working with a whole chicken, I decided not to do anything with them.
Wash the chicken inside and out, including the cavity. Pat it dry with paper towels.
Season/rub with salt, pepper, and parsley, including inside the cavity. Squeeze the juice of 2 lemons onto the chicken and inside the cavity. Prick a fork into the third whole lemon at least 10 times and nestle it inside the chicken cavity. Place the chicken breast-side down on a roasting rack and lower the oven temperature to 350F. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and turn chicken breast-side up. I read somewhere that at this point you should insert a meat thermometer in the thigh (make sure it does not touch the bone). Place the chicken in the oven again. Calculate a cooking time of 18-20 minutes per pound of chicken, plus an additional 15 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 10 mnutes before carving. Since my chicken was about five pounds, I baked it for 2 hours and 55 minutes.
I served the chicken with broccoli. I washed and cut the whole stalks into smaller pieces and threw them into a boiling pot. Once the water began to boil again, I waited about 2 minutes and then poured them into a colander to drain and then immediately into an ice-water bowl so they would stop cooking. They came out great!