A menu of refined comfort foods showcasing seasonal ingredients produces an inviting array of fresh flavors. Here, thyme and lemon enhance roast chicken.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet and the chicken pieces with butter. Lay chicken, skin side up, on sheet. Sprinkle with chopped thyme, and season with salt and pepper.
Roast chicken 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Carefully arrange thyme sprigs and lemon around chicken; return to oven. Continue roasting, basting chicken occasionally with pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees and lemons are caramelized, about 10 minutes more. Transfer to a platter; loosely tent with foil. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with lemon; garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.
If you can't find precut chicken quarters, ask your butcher to quarter a five-pound chicken and remove the backbone.