Prep/cook time: 1½ hours
Serves 2–4, depending on portion sizes
1 whole chicken, 3–4 pounds
1 head of garlic
½ stick European or European-style butter (either salted or unsalted)
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). Place the whole chicken into an oval baking dish. Cut off the top ¼ of a head of garlic, revealing the insides of the cloves but leaving them in their skins. Nestle the garlic into the baking dish with the chicken. Cut up the butter into little cubes, place them all over the chicken, and then generously salt the whole thing with fine sea salt. Add in fresh thyme sprigs; this doesn’t have to be exact, but I usually add about fifteen sprigs sort of haphazardly all over the pan.
Bake the chicken for 1 hour and 25 minutes. Thirty minutes into the baking, remove the chicken, and rotate it and the head of garlic upside down. Do this again after another 30 minutes of baking to return it to its original upright position. The top should be nicely golden brown; if you see it getting too dark during the second rotation, turn down the oven’s temperature slightly.
Transfer the chicken and head of garlic to a serving dish, and discard the thyme and butter remains. Add some additional fresh uncooked thyme to the dish if you’d like (it smells great). Season with plenty of pepper before serving.