I have a plan to start a Sunday dinner tradition in my house.  The plan includes comforting meals that cook a long time and produce alluring aromas in the house while we unpack boxes and continue to get settled.  Once we have some sense of order (which seems it might take months), I hope to invite some friends over to enjoy a relaxing meal around the table each week.

The first comfort food Sunday was anchored by this easy roasted chicken. Roasting chickens sometimes seems like messy business to me, dealing with the whole carcass and all.  The truth is, it is quite an easy meal and if you are up for it, the carcass can be the beginning of a delicious soup in the following days.

One of my friends has a doohicky that stands the chicken upright in the oven and with it, she produced a delicious chicken.  Others swear by the old “beer butt” chicken.  I went ahead with the traditional roasting pan and followed a classic lemon, thyme and garlic recipe and we were very happy with our bird. Add some potatoes, green beans and homemade applesauce and you have yourself one heck of a Sunday supper.

Easy Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Thyme and Garlic
from Bon Appetit

3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 7-pound roasting chicken
1 lemon, quartered

To make gravy (optional)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup (about) canned low-salt chicken broth
2 teaspoons all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix first 4 ingredients in bowl. Rinse chicken; pat dry. Place chicken in roasting pan. Rub all but 1 tablespoon garlic-thyme oil over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place lemon in cavity of chicken. Tie legs with string.

Roast chicken 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Roast chicken until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of inner thigh registers 180°F, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Lift chicken and tilt slightly, emptying juices from cavity into pan. Transfer chicken to serving platter. Tent chicken with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Pour pan juices into large glass measuring cup. Spoon fat off top. Add wine to pan; place over high heat. Bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Pour wine mixture into measuring cup with pan juices (do not clean roasting pan). Add enough chicken broth to cup to measure 1 1/2 cups. Return broth mixture to same roasting pan. Mix flour into reserved 1 tablespoon garlic-thyme oil. Whisk into broth mixture. Boil broth mixture in roasting pan set over 2 burners until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season pan-juice mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into sauceboat. Serve chicken, passing pan-juice mixture separately.