Whole Roasted Chicken with Tomato-Basil Butter
ROAST THE TOMATOES:
Preheat the oven to 250F.
Toss the tomatoes, thyme, and garlic on a baking sheet with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet and place the thyme and garlic atop the tomatoes.
Roast gently for 2 1/2 hours or until the tomatoes have shrunk and shed most of their water.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
MAKE THE BUTTER:
Place the softened butter in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula for 30 seconds to whip the butter.
Chop the cooled tomatoes and mix them and the basil into the butter until the mixture is well blended.
Season to taste with pepper, then spoon the butter onto a large sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper, forming a log. Roll into a cylinder that's about the thickness of a sausage.
Refrigerate until the butter has set, about 1 to 2 hours.
ROAST THE CHICKEN:
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Unwrap the butter and slice it into discs that are about 1/4-inch-thick and set aside.
Beginning at the neck end of the chicken and using your fingers, carefully make a pocket between the flesh and skin of the chicken breasts and the top of the legs.
Gently slide enough of the butter mixture into the pocket under the skin to evenly coat the breasts and legs.
Stuff the cavity of the chicken with half of the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic.
Using butchers' string, tie the legs of the chicken together or truss the chicken and tuck the wings under the body.
Place the remaining chopped vegetables and garlic into a roasting pan and set the chicken atop the vegetables. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until an instant-read meat thermometer placed into the thigh of the chicken reads 165F.
Remove the chicken from the oven and tent it loosely with foil. Set aside at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the fat from the pan juices.
Carve the chicken and arrange it on a serving platter.
Pour the pan juices over the chicken and serve immediately.
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