Roast Chicken with Lemon and Tarragon



1 whole Sunday Roaster chicken (approximately 6-7 lbs)
3 sprigs tarragon, divided use
1/4 t white pepper
1 lemon, Sliced into quarters
1 thick slice of onion, leave the skin on
2 T butter
Cracked black pepper
Coarsely ground Kosher salt
1 lemon, juiced
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
1 cup onions, sliced
2 cups chicken stock, low sodium

Chicken and Tarragon Gravy Ingredients:

1/4 cup dry sherry
2 T cornstarch
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional: 1 T parsley, minced

Spoon Mage™ Note:

Use as many carrots and onions as you like. Three cups provides a decent nest to keep the chicken elevated just a tad.

Do not follow the cook times below if you purchased a small chicken – unless you like well burnt dried out chicken. Get a Sunday roaster or follow the package directions for cook time.

Remove the thawed chicken from the fridge about 45 minutes before cooking. A room temp bird cooks faster and more evenly than one that is still cold.

Do not rinse the bird, just wipe it dry, inside and out, with paper towels that are immediately discarded. Rinsing just sends bacteria all over the sink and counter (and you). The heat from the oven will kill the bacteria most satisfactorily.

The bird is ready for tenting when the internal temperature at the fattest part of the thigh (the slowest to cook part) reaches 165°F. This is the temperature where salmonella dies. Tenting at this point gently brings the temperature up to a nice 170°F for deliciously juicy meat with attractive texture and color.

Cooking at a higher temperature browns the outside nicely. If your bird is packed with stuffing, you will need to check the stuffing temperature as the same salmonella rules apply. In this bird, we only put a few seasoning elements inside.


Preheat oven to 475°F

Remove the “goodies” from the bird and discard or freeze the neck to make stock on another day. Wipe the bird inside and out with paper towel.

Sprinkle the cavity with white pepper and lightly fill cavity with two sprigs of tarragon, lemon quarters, and the pieces of onion with skin.

Massage the outside of the bird with 1 tablespoon of the softened butter. Carefully separate the skin from the breast meat and rub the chunks of butter into the space. Insert the second tablespoon of butter as well. Sprinkle the outside with plenty of fresh cracked black pepper and coarsely ground Kosher salt.

If you are a chicken trusser you can do so now, I’m not and my chickens always turn out delicious. Chickens do look prettier when trussed. You can simply tie the legs together with kitchen string.

Slice the carrots and onions and place into a very large baking dish. Place the bird breast side up on the nest of carrots and onions.

Break the third tarragon sprig in half and place over the vegetables.

Pour the stock into the roasting pan.

Drizzle the chicken and vegetables with the juice from the second lemon.

Roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

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