Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Prepare the chicken: Season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity with the thyme sprigs and lemon wedges. Turn the chicken so the cavity is facing you. Put one end of a bacon slice squarely over the left thigh, run it over the breast meat and finish by covering the right thigh. Repeat with 9 more strips of bacon, slightly overlapping, so the thighs and all of the breast meat are covered. Then wrap one strip, slightly overlapping, around each drumstick.
Cook the chicken: Transfer the chicken to a shallow baking pan or rimmed baking sheet fitted with a roasting rack and put it in the center of the oven. Roast for 20 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Cook until the juices run clear or the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before carving. The bacon should form a hard shell over the breast meat. Take care to use a sharp knife when carving so the bacon stays on top of the white meat.
Finish the dish: Make a sauce by pouring the juices from inside the cavity (along with the thyme and lemon wedges) into the baking pan. Put the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the mustard, add 2 tablespoons water and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the sauce to come together. Strain, pressing down on the lemon wedges to extract all the juice, and season with salt and pepper. Discard the lemon wedges and thyme sprigs and taste for seasoning. Serve immediately.
Photograph by Chris Court
Recipes reprinted from The Home Cook. Copyright (c) 2017 by Alex Guarnaschelli. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.