1 whole chicken, medium-sized (I used a 6 1/2 pound one)
1 cup margarine or butter (either softened or melted)
1/2 medium-sizen sweet Spanish or Vidalia onion
5 or 6 cloves of garlic or a tablespoon of powdered garlic parsley to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse chicken inside and out and remove the guts. Tuck the wing ends under (under the underarms). Place on a roasting rack or triangle in a metal roasting pan.
Take the seeds out of the lemon half and stuff it into the bird.
Take the skin off the onion half and stuff it into the bird.
Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and, you guessed it, stuff into the bir d
(if you're using garlic powder, just spoon it right into the cavity).
Mix the margarine or butter with the parsley.
If the butter (or margarine) is soft, use a butter spreader. If it's melted, use a pastry brush. Either way, you want to coat the top of the bird with the mixture. Be sure to get under the wings and on the sides. You don't need to flip the bird over to get the bottom.
Place in the oven.
Cook at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and cook 15 - 20 minutes per pound. I cooked the 6 1/2 pound bird for about 2 hours at this temperature. When one hour of cooking time remains, rotate the roasting pan 180 degrees for more even cooking.
For the last hour or so, check the bird every fifteen minutes. If it has a self-timer, use that as your gauge for when the chicken is done. If not, use an instant-read thermometer or do the 'handshake' test (e. g. try to 'shake hands' with one of the legs. The leg should pull away freely if the bird is cooked). Also, cut deeply into the breast and make sure the meat is white all the way through. If it's pink anywhere, keep the bird in for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and wait about 10 minutes before carving.
Side dishes can be anything; usually potatoes or rice plus some sort of green vegetable.
The pan drippings, mixed with flour, make an excellent (although fatty) gravy.
Vary the spices if you wish. I didn't use any salt and pepper (the margarine I use has a little salt, as do many brands of butter). The original recipe calls for fresh thyme and parsley to be stuffed into the bird. You could also vary the citrus and instead go with an orange (probably an orange quarter, given the standard size of this fruit) if you want a sweeter meal. I suppose you could also use shallots instead of onion.