Sunday is a restorative day for many people. It’s a day of rest and reflection for some. It’s a day spent with loved ones. It’s a day to wind down from the previous week and prepare for the coming. For me, it’s a day when all of my messes get cleaned up and order is restored. And at the end of the day, with a newly stocked fridge, dear husband and I prepare a meal to be shared in our sparkling clean home before we go and mess it all up again next week. While we don’t manage to keep our sense of peace and sanity long, we cherish our Sundays and the restorative power of a simple meal in a happy home. Following is one of our favorite Sunday dinners adapted for the season. I used We Olive’s Ascolano extra virgin olive oil in each of the following preparations. It’s buttery flavor is perfect for roasting, and the surprising peppery kick on the finish adds a layer of complexity that belies its mild flavor. While the chicken will serve 4, I make just enough potatoes and beans for the meal as they don’t reheat well, then I shred the leftover chicken to be used in another meal. If you’re serving 4, double the quantities of the side dishes. Enjoy!
Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken
1 whole chicken, 3.5 – 4 lbs
1 lemon, cut in half
4 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably We Olive Ascolano
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the giblets from the cavity along with any large fat deposits. Discard. Rinse the chicken and cavity and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the skin of the chicken with most of the olive oil. Use the remaining oil to prepare a rectangular baking pan. Season the bird liberally with salt and pepper, inside and out. Place the lemon halves and time sprigs in the cavity and place the bird in the pan, breast side up.
2. Roast the chicken for 20 minutes then turn the bird breast side down and cook for another 20 minutes. Turn the bird breast side up and roast for another 20 minutes until golden. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.