Every home cook needs a great roast chicken recipe up her sleeve. Not only is this one beautiful to look at, but it fills your home with the most amazing aroma of garlic, lemon and rosemary. Larger chickens typically have more flavor than the tiny broilers and often times you can get more than one meal out of them. Saving the carcass for making broth is also a great idea, if you are having a Martha moment. The garlic becomes tender and sweet and is wonderful spread on some crusty French bread.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove giblets, rinse chicken and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken in a medium roasting pan, breast side up. Season inside and out with salt and pepper then spread breast and thighs with softened butter.
Insert one lemon, 2 sprigs of rosemary and on half of a head of garlic into the chicken's cavity and scatter the remaining lemons and garlic around the chicken. Remove the leaves of rosemary from the stem and sprinkle on top of the chicken. Top chicken with bacon slices and place chicken into oven. Bake for one hour.
Remove chicken from oven and remove bacon slices. Cut into small pieces and reserve. Return chicken to the oven and bake for half an hour more, or until chicken juices run clear when pierced with a knife in where the thigh meets the breast.
Remove the chicken from the roasting pan to a cutting board, along with the garlic and lemons and tent with foil to rest.
Meanwhile, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the roasting pan, and set over a medium-high burner on the stove. Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine and 1 cup of chicken broth, scrape up any brown bits and simmer until reduced by half (about 6-8 minutes).
In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon flour with 3 tablespoons water. Slowly drizzle flour mixture, while whisking, into the broth to thicken. Simmer for a few minutes more to get rid of the raw flour taste. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper if desired.
Cut chicken into 8 pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs and 2 wings) and place on a large platter, along with the garlic halves and reserved bacon. Serve with gravy and some good bread, or mashed potatoes.