My Best Roast Chicken, etc..

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Behold, good looking AND good tasting

Happy New Year my friends!  I have been slacking on my blog posts and have just decided (like really, just now decided) to try and post once a week.  Of course, I am not banking on having something grand to share each time, but you can count on at least a recipe and/or some family updates.  Also expect a link or two to something I find interesting or funny on The Google too.  So, without more yada, yada, yada, I will go ahead and dive right in on my first post of 2015!

I don’t know about others but for most of my adult life since I have been cooking, I have been trying to master the Roast Chicken.  Now, the Roast Chicken appears simple.  After all, it is a chicken for goodness sake and simply roasted.  However, you and I (you being the person who roasts chickens) both know that it is never as easy as it appears.  You want a nicely browned skin, but not so brown that it indicates a dry breast.  You need to season it properly since what you have left is the flavor that underlies your pan drippings.  The pan drippings!!!  Yet another thing that makes the Roast Chicken intimidating.  Fear not, for if you’ve given up on the Roast Chicken I am hear to encourage you to try, try again.  This recipe might just renew your Roast Chicken confidence.

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Dress that sucker up!  For this recipe, I generously salt and pepper the cavity of the bird and then stuff it with sliced lemons and oranges, shallots, onions, garlic and fresh thyme.  If you have a citrus aversion, well…too bad!  It significantly enhances the flavor profile of the meat and gives your pan drippings that little extra something to elevate your gravy.  Trust me, you want the acid to balance the rich, velvety fatty gravy-it is pretty amazing.  Next, rub a little unsalted butter under the skin of the breasts and legs.  Now, you could go completely gonzo here and use truffle butter.  I know, I know, slow down Dena, but seriously my friends, it is divine.  Truffle butter is to the exterior of the bird what the citrus is to the inside – next level flavor and sophistication.  You will have one half each left of the lemon, orange, onion, and shallot.  You will also have a nice fat bulb of garlic.  All of these will serve as your roasting rack and keep your bird moist and flavorful.

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Your pan drippings might look like this.  Lots of melty onions and citrus and broth to make up your delicious sauce.  Ok, I will stop gushing-here is the recipe.

My Best Roast Chicken

1 whole roasting chicken, 3-4 pounds

1 lemon, quartered

1 orange, quartered

1 bulb of garlic, top removed plus 4 cloves, peeled

8 fresh sprigs of thyme; 6 left whole, 2 chopped

1 large yellow onion, peeled and halved

1 large shallot, peeled and halved

4 tblsp unsalted butter or *truffle butter

1/2 cup orange juice

1 tblsp olive oil

1-2 cups chicken stock

1 tblsp flour

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Remove giblets and pat dry the chicken.  Generously season the cavity of the chicken with salt and freshly-cracked pepper.  Stuff the cavity with half each of the lemon, orange, onion, shallot, peeled garlic cloves and 4 thyme sprigs.  Salt and pepper the skin of the chicken and layer the bottom of your roasting pan with the remaining onion, shallot, lemon, orange and whole garlic bulb and rest the chicken on top.  Tuck the two remaining whole sprigs of thyme between the legs and breast.  Add about 1 cup of the chicken broth to the pan to prevent the drippings from sticking to the bottom.  Roast, uncovered for one hour basting occasionally.  In a small bowl whisk together the orange juice, olive oil and chopped thyme.  Pour this over the chicken and continue to roast until the thickest part of the thigh registers at 170 degrees, about 45 minutes longer.  Continue to baste.

Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer it to a platter, tent it with foil.  Place the roasting pan directly over a burner and heat to medium-low.  Whisk in the additional broth and flour.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Once your broth has achieved a thicker, smoother consistency, strain the pan gravy.  Discard the remaining ingredients.

Slice your chicken and serve with the pan gravy.  We like this with smashed or mashed potatoes and a sautéed side of something green – think green beans or kale.

*truffle butter is available in most markets and grocery stores where butter is sold