1 (3 1/2-4 lb) roasting chickens, rinsed and patted dry (free-range if you can get one)
1 onion, stuck with
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
12 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, including tarragon, chives and parsley
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fill the chicken's body cavity with the onion, bay leaf and lemon and season well. Beat together the butter, garlic, herbs and more salt and pepper. Lift the skin from the neck end of the chicken away from the flesh and carefully work your hand between the skin and breast to form pockets. Divide the butter in half and fill each pocket with half of it, spreading it as far along the breast as possible without tearing the skin. Spread any remaining butter over the skin, then sprinkle all over with salt and pepper and transfer to a roasting pan. Roast the chicken breast side down for about 20 minutes; then raost for another 20 minutes on one side; then turn again and raost it on the other side for about 20 minutes; finish roasting the bird breast side up -- total roasting time should be 1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 hours until the skin is browned and the meat is cooked through. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.