Roast chicken is the ultimate comfort food and a perfect Sunday night dinner. There's something very reassuring about the sound and smell of chicken roasting in the oven. Ending the weekend at home, in your kitchen, with an open bottle of wine (see which one I suggest below) and a whole chicken perfuming your home is a good way to gear up for the week ahead. With this recipe you should end up with moist chicken that has very crisp skin. The croutons are a little decadent since they not only soak up all the wonderful juices from the bird, but also some of the fat. You don't have to eat many of them to feel satisfied. I agree with Oscar Wilde who said, "Everything in moderation, including moderation"!
Enjoy and Bon Appetit!
1 3 & 1/2 - 4 pound chicken, preferably kosher, rinsed and patted dry.
1 - 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons salt (optional - no need to use extra salt if the chicken is kosher)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 thyme sprigs
4 rosemary sprigs
6 -10 cloves garlic, smashed
8 - 10 slices of 1/2-inch thick french baguette or other sturdy bread
1) Position rack in bottom third of convection oven (if you have one) and preheat to 450 degrees.
2) Rub chicken all over with olive oil, 1 tablespoon butter, salt and pepper. Carefully loosen the breast skin of the chicken. Spread the butter evenly over the breast meat then smooth out the skin. Stuff cavity with lemon, thyme, rosemary and garlic. Truss the chicken or, at a minimum, tie the legs together with string.
3) Place chicken in pan, breast side up and roast for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and, using a spoon, baste all over with pan juices.
4) Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees. Return chicken to oven and baste every 20 minutes. Place the slices of baguette underneath the chicken for the last 30 minutes of roasting. The chicken is done when a thigh is pricked and the juices run clear, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
5) Take chicken out of the pan and place it on a carving board. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Remove baguette slices from pan. The side which was touching the chicken will be a little soft. If you would like, place bread in toaster oven with that side up and toast for a few minutes. The other side of the toasts should already be very crispy and golden brown.
6. Drizzle chicken with leftover pan juices and serve with the croutons. Save any leftover chicken for chicken salad sandwiches and don't forget to save the chicken bones in the freezer to eventually be used for making stock. (See my post on making homemade chicken stock).
3 - 4 servings.
With the roast chicken I paired a beautiful Southern Rhone 2009 Duclaux Chateauneuf-du-Pape (a blend of 60% grenache, 30% mourvedre and 10% syrah). Since that year was a very warm one in all of France, the wine is quite fruit forward yet also full of other, earthier components like tar, leather, licorice and spice. This well-balanced wine with its moderate acidity and soft tannins complemented and supported the rich flavors of the chicken. It was a mouth-watering combination!