Ingredients for the chicken
for the sauce
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Trim excess fat from the chicken, remove the giblets, dry the chicken thoroughly with paper towels, and season the inside and out with salt & pepper.
- Stuff the chicken's cavity with the thyme, 1/2 of a head of a garlic, 2 peeled shallots, and the lavender. Truss the chicken with kitchen twine.
- In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil & the honey together. Brush the chicken all over with the mixture making certain every bit of surface area has been glazed.
- Toss the shallots and remaining halves of garlic heads in olive oil and place in the bottom of a ROASTING PAN that just fits the bird.
- Place the chicken breast side up on the bed of garlic and shallots, put pan in the oven with legs toward the back wall of the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
- Remove the bird from the oven and baste the chicken with the pan juices and another brush of the honey & oil mix.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees °F and put the chicken back in the oven and roast until the skin is golden brown, about 25 minutes. A thermometer inserted into the thigh should register 165 degrees °F.
- Remove the chicken, the shallots, and the garlic from the roasting pan and let rest while the sauce is prepared.
- Put the roasting pan over a burner and set the flame to medium-high heat. Add the water, and stir and scrape to remove the delicious brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Strain the drippings into a bowl and spoon off the excess fat.
- Whisk the lemon juice, remaining olive oil & honey mixture, fresh thyme leaves, lavender, and strained pan juices together. Add salt & pepper to taste.
- Place the chicken back in the roasting pan. Scatter the roasted shallots around the chicken and place the halves of roasted garlic next to the chicken. Spoon some of the sauce around the base of the chicken, reserving most of the sauce to be passed when the chicken has been carved and plated.
- Make a small herb bouquet with the lavender, rosemary, and thyme and place in the chicken between the legs and the back so that it stands up straight.
Brining a chicken insures an all over golden skin and plump, moist meat. To brine, simply mix together a solution of 1 gallon water, 1 cup sea salt, 1/4 honey, 1 lemon halved, and 12 peppercorns. Submerge the whole chicken in the brine and refrigerate for 1 day. Remove chicken from the brine, pat dry, & return to refrigerator for up to 2 days to dry out. If fresh lavender is unavailable, dried lavender works well in the garnish bouquet. A wonderful culinary lavender is LE CHATELARD CULINARY LAVENDER. Be sure to grow culinary lavender varieties such as Munstead or Hidcote in the garden as other varieties have a soapy taste.