1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the sacks of giblets from the chickens. Freeze the neck, heart, and gizzards for stock, and fry the liver for a four-legged friend. Pull out and discard any large fat deposits from the cavities of the chicken. Trim any loose skin and trim off the tails. Pat dry with paper towels.
2. Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup, unless the pan is nonstick. Put a roasting rack or large wire cake rack in the pan. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Heat through.
3. Set the chickens on the roasting rack, breast-side up. Put 3 rosemary sprigs and 4 lemon quarters in each cavity. Brush the seasoned butter on the birds, coating them well. Put the roasting pan in the lower half of the oven and roast, basting every 20 minutes, until the juices run clear when a sharp knife is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, or when an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F inserted at the same point, about 1 hour.
4. Remove the chickens from the oven, baste again, and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Leave 1 chicken to cool completely. Let the other chicken rest for 10 minutes, then carve and serve. To save leftovers, cut the other chicken in half, wrap each half well, and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
VARIATION: Cut peeled root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, leeks, onions, sweet potatoes, turnips, and parsnips into 1-inch chunks. Coat with olive oil or melted butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place in the roasting pan to roast with the chicken.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Let the chickens cool completely, wrap well, and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
From From Our House To Yours. Compilation copyright © 2002 by Chronicle Books LLC. Foreword copyright © 2002 by Joyce Goldstein. Photographs copyright © 2002 by E.J. Armstrong. All rights reserved. First published by Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, California.
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