1 large (5 to 6 pound) whole Smart Chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
1/4 stick (2 Tablespoons) butter, melted
1 large onion, sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 fennel bulb, tops removed, and cut into wedges
8 medium-size new potatoes, freshly scrubbed and cut in half
-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.
-Place the onions, carrots, potatoes and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.
-Roast the chicken for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer.
-Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables. Serves 8.