I have been perfecting a roasted chicken. Roasting poultry is one of those things that every chef "knows" how to do, but not every chef (or even every cook, for that matter) feels they can do well, or make exciting. In terms of chicken itself, there are a few techniques that really help the bird do what it needs to do. Here's my recipe for a "country style" chicken that draws upon some of my favourite flavour combinations to produce a moist, robust bird as suited to a Sunday dinner as to sandwiches.
Country Roasted Chicken with Pan Gravy
- 1 Whole Chicken
- 1/2 cup cultured butter (salted)
- 1/4 tsp garlic paste or minced garlic
- 1 Whole Lemon
- Herbs de Provence
- Lemon Pepper (alternately, lemon juice and crushed black pepper)
- Cayenne Pepper
- Sticks of Carrot and Celery (see below)
- 1/8 c of Flour, approximately.
- Preheat oven to 350F and remove middle rack.
- If the chicken includes giblets and the neck, remove both. Retain for later use.
- Make an incision along the breastbone.
- Combine butter and garlic paste until well mixed and carefully stuff between the skin and flesh of the breasts. This will help to keep the bird moist and avoids the need for basting or barding the bird. Using compound butters in this way is the preferred method of roasting a chicken in a commercial setting.
- Season exterior of bird with Herbs de Provence, Lemon Pepper, and Cayenne.
- Line a deep pan with the carrots and celery, to elevate the chicken from the bottom of the pan, along with the neck and giblets.
- Roast until thoroughly cooked - use a calibrated thermometer to get the accurate temperature, which should be 165F. This should take about 45 minutes.
- Set the bird on a board to rest while you prepare the gravy. Discard the carrots and celery (or retain for other recipes). The neck and giblets are also to be discarded.
- Deglaze the pan with (in order of preference) white wine, chicken stock, or water.
- Sift in flour and whisk, as needed, until the gravy is the desired thickness.