My husband and I love roast chicken, but the average roaster (5+ pounds) is far more than we need nowadays, so generally I buy a whole frying chicken (2-3 pounds) so that we can enjoy one meal of hot roast chicken and then eat the leftovers in a salad later in the week. My husband likes to do the beer can chicken on the grill, but if it's too cold or rainy outside, I do the chicken inside.
1 whole frying chicken (about 2-3 pounds)
1 lemon, cut in 8 pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (we like rosemary, sage, and thyme) or 2 teaspoons dried herbs
1/2 medium onion, thickly sliced
butter-flavored cooking spray
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth + 1/4 cup lemon juice for basting
1 cup chicken broth (or a combination of broth & white wine) (for the gravy)
2 tablespoons flour
Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray a roasting pan and rack with cooking spray. Combine the chicken broth and lemon juice in a measuring cup and set aside.
Remove giblets (if any) from the chicken cavity, cut away any visible fat, rinse the chicken and dry with paper towels. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of herbs and some salt and pepper in the cavity. Fill the cavity with lemon chunks and onion slices (if there are extras, put them in the roasting pan). Put the chicken breast side up on the rack in the roasting pan. Spray the chicken with butter-flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the remaining tablespoon of herbs. Put the roasting pan in the oven and cook the chicken for 20 minutes.
Pour half of the broth & juice mixture over the chicken. Return the pan to the oven and cook for another 20 minutes. Pour the rest of the broth & juice mixture over the chicken, return it to the oven, and cook for another 20-30 minutes or until juices run clear, a meat thermometer reads 190F when inserted in the breast, and the skin is golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven.
Lift the chicken off the rack, tipping the bird so that the juices can run out of it into the pan, and transfer the bird to a serving platter. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and set aside.
Remove the rack and any pieces of onion or lemon from the roasting pan and discard.
To make gravy: put the roasting pan on a burner on the stove set on medium-high heat. Add the flour and using a whisk, combine the flour with the cooking juices in the pan until a thick sludge develops. Add the cup of broth and continue to stir until the broth and flour mixture are well combined and the gravy is thickened to your preference, about 3-5 minutes. Taste the gravy and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the gravy into a gravy boat or small pitcher.
Carve the chicken and serve it with the gravy.