Want to renew your roast spring chicken? Cover it with this easy lemon-dill butter

My favorite types of dishes are those that can change with the seasons. My winter pasta, for example, is loaded with slow-roasted root vegetables and caramelized shallots – but once summer hits, it turns into a wonder of fresh tomatoes, basil and a nut or two. of butter.

Roast chicken is another such dish.

Related: The nutritious pleasure of stewed whole chicken

In the fall, I bathe it in rich olive oil, seasoned with sage and thyme. When winter comes, I take butter, rosemary and pink pepper. Now that it’s spring, I’m ready to change again, this time relying on leafy aromas and a well-placed touch of acid.

This roast chicken recipe incorporates dill, parsley and lemon zest into a very simple compound butter, which will be spread under the skin of the chicken, keeping the meat moist and flavorful. It rests on a bed of fennel and leeks, which lightly caramelize in the chicken fat. It’s almost a complete meal in itself, although I recommend adding some rice, roast potatoes or some good bread (perhaps in the form of this Panzanella?).


Recipe: Roasted chicken with lemon-dill butter, fennel and leeks


1 roast chicken, 3 lbs.
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped dill
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons lemon zest
4 leeks, halved lengthwise and rinsed well
1 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped


  1. Pat the roast chicken dry and coat it generously with salt and pepper. Be sure to get under the wings and legs and inside the interior cavity.
  2. In a small bowl, add the unsalted butter, dill, parsley and lemon zest. Mash and mix in the butter until soft and well combined with the herbs and zest.
  3. Using your hands or a small spoon, spread the butter under the skin of the chicken – again, making sure to get under the wings, thighs and inside the chicken.
  4. Add the leeks and fennel to a large cast iron skillet. Place the prepared chicken on top.
  5. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and place the pan inside. Roast for 60 to 70 minutes, basting the chicken with its juices and turning the fennel and leeks halfway through cooking. Remove the chicken and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving it.

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