Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Ultimate Roast Chicken

Cook Time: 1 hr 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4-6 servings


* 1 (5 1/2 pound) free-range chicken
* 1/2 bunch each fresh oregano, thyme, and parsley
* 1/4 pound unsalted butter, softened
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 orange, halved
* 1/2 head garlic
* 1 medium white onion, halved, plus 1 onion
* 6 strips smoked bacon
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
* 1/4 cup dry sherry
* Serving suggestion: roast potatoes, watercress and gravy.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside and out. Pat it dry with
paper towels. Divide the herbs, keeping 1/2 of them whole. Finely chop
the other half. In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the
chopped herbs, until combined. Rub the herbed butter under the skin,
as well as all over the outside of the chicken. Season the bird all
over with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the orange, garlic, 1
onion, and the remaining herbs. Tie the legs together with kitchen
twine to help hold its shape. Place the chicken, breast-side up, in a
roasting pan. Put the remaining onion into the pan, which will help
color and flavor the sauce. Lay the strips of bacon across the breast
of the chicken and roast for 25 minutes.

Remove the bacon and baste the chicken with the drippings and cook for
another 25 minutes to brown the skin. The chicken is done when an
instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F when inserted into the
thickest part of the thigh (the legs of the chicken should wiggle
easily from the sockets too.) Remove the chicken to a platter and let
stand for 10 minutes, so the juices settle back into the meat before

Meanwhile, remove the softened onion from the roasting pan. Tilt the
pan so the drippings collect in 1 corner, skimming off as much fat as
possible, and leaving the drippings. Place the roasting pan on top of
the stove over medium heat and take a wooden spoon to scrape up the
flavor from the bottom of the pan. Stir the flour into the drippings
to make a roux-like paste. Pour in the chicken broth in stages;
continue to stir to dissolve the flour evenly to prevent lumps. Stir
in the sherry and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, carve the chicken tableside and squeeze the oranges from the
cavity over the meat.


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