This chicken starts out roasting on a rack, but is finished sitting in a basting liquid, so it takes on some of the qualities of a braised chicken. You’ll need at least a five-pound roaster to serve four people. But if you want leftovers, get a bigger one - seven to eight pounds at least. Make sure you have a roasting pan with a rack and pick up a ball of cooking twine or string for tying the legs together. This recipe calls for a mirepoix, which is nothing more than a handful of coarsely chopped vegetables. I couldn't find an eight-pounder for my last dinner, so what you see in the picture are two 5 pounders. The recipe sounds more complicated than it is.
One five-pound roaster
A 36-inch length of string for trussing
1 small lemon
1/4 teaspoon Lawry’s® seasoned salt
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, from the inner core with the leaves
2 sprigs of Italian parsley
4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
One bay leaf
10 black peppercorns
For the mirepoix
2 carrots coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks coarsely chopped
1/2 large onion coarsely chopped
For basting and the gravy
2 cans of chicken broth
2 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup water
1. Heat the oven to 425°F. Thoroughly wash the chicken inside and out until the water runs clear. Remove any excess fat.(There’s usually a big gob at the opening between the legs.) Dry it inside and out with paper towels.
2. Squeeze the lemon over the inside and outside and rub the juice to coat the bird.
3. Sprinkle the seasoned salt inside the chicken and then put in the coarsely chopped shallots and garlic, the whole celery stalk (you may have to bend it in half), the parsley, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns.
4. Tie the legs together loosely. You want to leave enough room to pour some of the basting liquid into the cavity. Tuck the wingtips under the chicken so it looks like it has its “hands” clasped behind its neck.
5.Thoroughly grease or oil the roasting pan rack and place the chicken, breast up, on the rack and place the rack in the pan. Cook for 20 minutes to brown the skin.
6. Take the chicken out of the oven at 20 minutes and set the chicken on a cutting board. Remove rack from pan. Careful, it’s hot.
7. Scatter the coarsely chopped celery, carrots and onion (it’s what the French call mirepoix) on the bottom of the roast pan and set the chicken on the vegetables. Pour ½ cup of canned chicken stock over and inside the chicken and do the same with the ¼ cup of white wine.
8. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and put the chicken back in.
9. Cook a five pound chicken for about another hour. Add about 15 minutes for each pound over five. Baste the chicken at 20-minute intervals with the remaining canned stock and wine. Use a bulb baster to pull out the liquid from the inside of the chicken for basting as well.
10. When the chicken is finished (165°F at the inner thigh), remove it from the pan, place it on a cutting board and cover loosely.
11. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the pan and discard.
12. Pour off most of the fat from the drippings in the pan, keep as much of the juice as you can. You’ll be able to see the difference. The fat is the clear, oily looking stuff.
13. Put the roast pan on the stove and, over medium heat, scrape up the caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan. Add more chicken broth if needed and continue scraping and stirring until you have recovered the natural flavors.
14. Mix the flour and water together and stir into the liquid until it’s the thickness you want.
15. Keep the gravy warm while you carve the chicken and serve. Don’t even try to do this at the table. It only works on TV. If you’ve never carved a chicken before, it’s pretty easy if you have a sharp knife.
16. Pull the wings away from the body and cut at the joint. The joint is easy to see.
17.Do the same with the legs. As you pull the leg and thigh away from the chicken, you’ll be able to see where to cut the thigh from the body. Then cut the thigh and leg apart.
18. Then slice the breast meat off of each side.
19. Put the breast meat in the center of the platter and arrange the pieces around the edges.
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