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Lemon thyme roasted chicken with potatoes

It's a big week in our house. My oldest boy is starting kindergarten and I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it. Am I anxious? Excited? Maybe both? He seems to be showing a mix of the same feelings as he prepares to take on this new journey and we both prepare to spend less of our time together. So I'm turning to comfort food to get us through the first week of school, nourishing both our bodies and our minds.

The preparation for this lovely roasted chicken with potatoes is quick and easy. The oven does the hard part. A lemon and thyme compound butter is tucked under the skin and rubbed all over the outside of the chicken. The potatoes are simply chopped into chunks, tossed with olive oil and placed in a single layer in the bottom of the roasting pan to catch all those delicious chicken juices as it roasts.

I have a proper roasting pan but I don't have a proper roasting rack. I find my cooling rack, which I use for cooling baked goodies, fits perfectly on top of the roasting pan and works nicely to lift the chicken, allowing air to circulate around the bird while it roasts.

Here's how I made it:

3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
zest of one lemon
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
3-3 1/2 lb whole chicken
2 lbs potatoes, chopped into chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

I started by preheating my oven to 400 degrees (F). Using a fork, I mixed the butter, lemon zest and thyme in a small bowl. I patted the chicken dry with a paper towel. Then, starting at the cavity opening, I used my hands to gently separate the skin of the chicken breast away from the meat. About half of the compound butter was tucked under the skin and spread out as evenly as possible, and the rest of the butter was rubbed all over the outside of the chicken. I placed the chopped potatoes in a single layer in the bottom of my roasting pan and tossed them with the olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper. The roasting rack was placed on top of the pan then I centered the chicken on top of the rack, breast side up, seasoning it with more salt and pepper. I placed the whole roasting pan on the bottom rack of my preheated oven and roasted until a meat thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the thigh registered 170-175 degrees (F), which took 65 minutes in my oven. I removed the roasting pan from the oven and tented the whole thing with foil for 15 minutes to rest before transferring to a serving platter for slicing.

Do you ever forget how much you like something? Ya. That's how I felt about this dinner. I think roasted chicken will become a regular feature in our home this fall.

Do you like to roast whole chickens? What's your favourite way to prepare it? Do you have little ones starting school for the first time too? Tell me I'll be okay!