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Baked Chicken with Cinnamon Butter

Slices of baked chicken drizzled with cinnamon butter, green salad, and lemon wedge.
This baked chicken with cinnamon butter is an incredibly easy dish made by rubbing a whole hen with with a cinnamon, garlic, and peppercorn compound butter and roasting until tender.
Elizabeth David

Prep 10 mins
Cook 1 hr 35 mins
Total 1 hr 45 mins
Entrees
American
4 servings
501 kcal

Ingredients 

For the cinnamon butter

  • 2 tablespoons jarred green peppercorns drained (optional)
  • 1 small sliver garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) butter
  • Scant 1 teaspoon salt (less if you're using salted butter)

For the chicken

  • One (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chicken
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves
  • Frisée, watercress, mache, or other tender young greens
  • 1 lemon cut into quarters

Directions 

Make the cinnamon butter

  • Take a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a chef's knife and crush the peppercorns, if using, garlic, and cinnamon until well combined. Work the butter into the mixture and, when thoroughly mashed together, work in the salt. Store in a small covered jar in the refrigerator.

Prepare the chicken

  • Lift the skin of the chicken and rub the salt and then most of the cinnamon butter all over the flesh, making a few gashes with a small sharp knife in the drumsticks and thick part of the legs so that the spices will penetrate. Put a little more of the butter inside the chicken. If possible, leave the hen at room temperature for an hour or two before cooking.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and adjust the rack to the center position.

Bake the chicken

  • Place the chicken and bay leaves in a shallow baking dish into which it will just fit. [Editor's Note: We find that a large cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch baking dish works just fine.]
  • Roast the chicken, uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally with the juices. At the end of the cooking time, the skin should be beautifully golden and crisp. Let the chicken rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.

Serve the chicken

  • Carve the chicken and serve it alongside the salad. Pour the buttery pan juices, minus the bay leaves, into a little sauceboat and place it on the table with the lemon wedges, both of which are lovely on the chicken as well as the salad.