Serves 4 to 6. Recipe is from Corinne Cook. Parsley, green onion, garlic and cracker crumb mixture is slipped under the skin before baking.
1 (3½-lb.) fryer
3 tbls. butter, room temperature
3 tbls. chopped fresh parsley
3 tbls. chopped green onions
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄3 cup finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs
Salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
Additional butter or oil
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line roasting pan with foil if desired for easy cleanup. Remove visible fat from chicken but do not remove skin. Rinse chicken under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels inside and outside.
2. In small bowl add butter, parsley, green onions, garlic and crushed cracker crumbs. Stir to make a paste.
3. Using two fingers, separate the skin from the meat over the top of the breast and on top of the legs. Evenly push and spread the parsley-butter mixture into the space you have made between skin and flesh.
4. Rub additional butter or oil over outside of chicken. Season inside and outside of the chicken with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. (If desired, put additional parsley, green onions, garlic or lemon in the cavity.)
5. Place breast side up in foil-lined roasting pan and roast uncovered at 450 degrees for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook 20 minutes per pound.
6. Check if chicken is cooked. Insert instant-read thermometer into thick meaty parts. Temperature should be 165-170 degrees. Remove from oven and allow chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.
For Baked Chicken With Basil, Garlic and Lemon OR Baked Chicken with Thyme, Garlic and Lemon, follow instructions for preparing and baking a (3½-lb.) fryer. Use 1 handful fresh basil or thyme; 3 tablespoons butter at room temperature; 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced; 1 teaspoon lemon zest and juice from ½ lemon; additional butter and oil for rubbing on the chicken; and salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Place additional vegetables and herbs in cavity if desired Bake on bed of celery, bell pepper and onions if desired.
For Southwest-Flavored Baked Chicken, follow instructions for preparing and baking a (31/2-lb.) fryer. Make a compound butter with 3 tablespoons butter; ½ teaspoon orange zest or more if desired; ½ teaspoon lemon zest, more if desired; 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro; 1/8 teaspoon chili powder, pinch of sage, and generous pinch of cumin. Rub additional butter or oil all over chicken before seasoning with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Bake on bed of cilantro, fruit peel and onion if desired