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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Leave it to Julia to make the best roast chicken ever

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
I decided to try to improve my roast chicken, take it up a notch so to speak, so I went to the master — Julia Child — and decided to try her method. As usual, it was a wordy and overly complex situation, but the cooking notes are perfect and the results delicious.

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup finely diced carrots
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/3 cup finely diced celery
1 teaspoon thyme or herbs de Provence
One 3 1/2- to 4-pound organic chicken (I love Rosie's)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
parsley stems
celery leaves
6 thin lemon slices
1/2 cup sliced onion
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup chicken stock or broth

Preheat the oven to 425°. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet. Add the diced carrots, onion and celery and cook over moderate heat until softened. Stir in the herbs. Wash the chicken rapidly inside and out with hot water and pat thoroughly dry. Salt and pepper the cavity and spoon in the cooked vegetables, a handful of parsley stems and celery leaves and the lemon slices. Massage the chicken all over with 1 tablespoon of the butter, tie the ends of the drumsticks together and tuck the wings under the body. Choose a flameproof roasting pan that is about 1 inch larger than the chicken. Salt the chicken all over and set it breast-up on a rack in the pan. Roast the chicken in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, as follows: At 15 minutes brush the chicken with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Scatter the sliced onion and carrot all around. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°. At 45 minutes, brush the lemon juice over the chicken. If necessary, add 1/2 cup of water to the vegetables to prevent burning. At 60 minutes, baste with the pan juices. Test for doneness: The drumsticks should move easily in their sockets; their flesh should feel somewhat soft. If not, continue roasting, basting and testing every 7 to 8 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°. Let rest on a carving board for 15 minutes; discard the string. Spoon all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the juices in the pan. Add the stock and boil until lightly syrupy, 5 minutes. This makes a lovely gravy.


Monica said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stacy said...

First of all I love that photo!
Second of all,I wash and dry my bird because plastic packaging sometimes makes the bird smell a little gamey and I like to start with freshness whenever possible.

Monica said...

oops! My comment got eaten, but not in a good way, like eating chicken. lol.

I had asked about the wash/don't wash your chicken debate. (Jaques Pépin is supposed to have said that if something could survive in a 400° oven for an hour, it deserved to kill him.)

Glad you liked the photo — all those birds are pretty hilarious. And that KNIFE! Look out!