Whole Roasted Chicken with Homemade Tapenade

I like to roast my chicken in the oven and then rest it, breast side down, so the juices flow back through the dryer meat (the white meat) as the bird cools and rests slightly before serving, I find it makes the chicken more juicy. Also, I remove my chicken from the oven when it is between 155 to 160 degrees F. the temperature will go a few degrees higher as it rests, making it safe to eat but not overcooked.


  • 1 whole chicken, about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds, gutted
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 to 5 thyme sprigs, for stuffing chicken
  • 6 ounces or 3/4 cup pitted, green olives, plus more for stuffing chicken
  • 6 ounces or 3/4 cup pitted black olives, preferably oil-cured, plus more for stuffing chicken
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons whiskey (recommended: Jack Daniels)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons if needed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Sea salt
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.


  1. Season the inside cavity with salt. Arrange the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan with a rack. Zest the lemon and set aside. Cut the zested lemon in half and put it inside the cavity of the bird along with the thyme, and extra olives. Truss the chicken by evenly looping your butcher’s twine under the wing and come around the legs. Pull the ends and tie at the top pulling the legs together and tucking in the wings. Season with salt and rub the 2 tablespoons canola oil on the outside of the chicken. Roast in the oven for 55 to 65 minutes, depending on your oven. The juices from the thickest part of the thigh should run clear (meaning not pink from blood) and register between 155 and 160 degrees F when tested with an instant-read thermometer. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest.
  2. Meanwhile, put the shallots and the green and black olives in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the whiskey and with the machine running, pour in 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a slow stream. Note: add more oil, if needed, and pulse to blend. Taste for seasoning and set aside.
  3. Put the chicken, breast side up, on a cutting board. Cut the butcher’s twine then cut down the length of the breastbone, on either side, and detach the light meat. Cut around each thigh and detach them as well. Arrange on a platter. Drizzle any run off juices onto the chicken. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, lemon zest and a sprinkle of sea salt. Spread some of the soft butter on the light and dark meat, keeping the chicken, skin side up, on the serving platter. Top with some of the tapenade and serve immediately.