Roast chicken, or poulet roti as the French call it, is a staple in my home. With some roasted vegetables and a big loaf of French bread, it’s probably one of my favorite meals to make and eat.
I thought it appropriate to update my recipe for poulet roti as I’ve slightly modified it since the last time I shared the recipe here. My tweaks have made the recipe more straightforward and even more fuss-free.
The first time I made roast chicken, I used Julia Child’s recipe. The poulet roti ended up tasting great, but it was a lot of work constantly basting the chicken as it baked in the oven.
While brushing the chicken with butter is key to getting a chicken with crisp, golden skin, I’ve found that a simple brush of butter in the beginning is just as effective as continually basting it.
You could also use olive oil if you really wanted, but the skin won’t be as crisp (or tasty!) as using butter. It is the French way, after all.
I love stuffing my poulet roti with French herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage. These fresh herbs add great flavor and aroma to the chicken. Sometimes I’ll chop up the herbs real fine and sprinkle them all over the top of the chicken.
It doesn’t look as picturesque when I chop up the herbs and sprinkle them on top, but I find the herbs’ flavors shine through much better. It’s really your preference.
In addition, I utilize garlic and lemon to also provide the chicken with delicious flavor.
The Best Sides
My favorite way to serve this poulet roti is with roasted vegetables. I love the organic rainbow carrots they sell at my local farm stand, and often pick them up just for recipes like this. They are so delicious with just a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper.
You can also serve this roast chicken with potatoes, French bread, and/or salad. I love creating a simple frisée, endive, and radicchio salad that I dress with olive oil, sea salt, and lemon juice. It’s a refreshing compliment to the warm, comforting roast chicken.
Just before serving the poulet roti, I spoon the leftover juices in the pan over the chicken. The final touch makes this meal absolutely tantalizing. This is definitely a classic recipe that you’ll cherish for years to come.
Poulet Roti (Roast Chicken French-Style)
Classic roast chicken made with fresh herbs, butter, garlic, and lemon.
- 3.5 lb organic whole chicken , skin on
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 sprig of sage
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 lemon cut into quarters
- freshly ground pepper
Rinse and remove any giblets from the inside of the chicken. Thoroughly dry the chicken by patting it dry with paper towels. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Brush the entire surface area of the chicken, as well as the inside cavity, with 1 1/2 tbsp of the softened butter. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper over the entire chicken, as well as inside the cavity too.
Place 2 lemon quarters inside the chicken cavity, as well as the garlic cloves and fresh herbs. Use kitchen string to tie the two chicken legs together to keep the cavity shut. Place the chicken (breast-side facing up) in a cast-iron pan. Place the extra lemon quarters on each side of the roast chicken, slightly wedging it under the chicken.
Bake the chicken for 1 hour at 350°F. At the 1 hour mark, take the chicken out of the oven and brush the top surface with the remaining butter. Place the chicken back into the oven (rotating its position in the oven too) and bake at 375°F for another 40 to 45 minutes, When a thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the chicken's leg (avoid the bone) reads 165°F and the chicken's juices run clear, the chicken is ready. Let the chicken rest on the counter, covered with a sheet of foil, for 10 minutes before serving. Just before serving, spoon the chicken juices over the entire chicken.