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Roast Chicken with Thyme and Onions

Thyme Plants

Some of you will have thyme in your shares this week.
Thyme is a perennial of the mint family. The leaves are the tiniest of all the herbs you will receive. Depending on the variety the plant can grow tall or it can grow close to the ground as a ground cover. In England they will often plant it to grow between slates in an herb garden, sort of as a ground cover. If allowed to go to seed it will produce flowers that are known to attract honey bees.
This herb is a perennial so I would plant this in the ground with promise of it coming back year after year.
Thyme is used in stuffings, stews and for seasoning meats and poultry and fish. Thyme is part of bouquet garni, herbes de Provence, and the Middle East spice blend Zahtar, along with jerk and curry blends.

Roast Chicken with Thyme and Onions

2 lemons
2 whole chickens about 2 ½ lbs each
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
6 shallots, coarsely chopped
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a medium baking dish.  Pierce lemons several times with a fork, and place 1 inside each chicken cavity. Arrange chickens in the center of the prepared baking dish. Place onions, shallots, and garlic around the chickens. Sprinkle vegetables with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread butter over the chickens, and line each with thyme sprigs. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Increase temperature to 400 degrees F and continue baking 30 minutes, or until exterior of chicken is golden brown, meat is no longer pink, and juices run clear. Allow to cool about 15 minutes before serving.

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