Roast Chicken adapted from Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken
Serves 3 to 4
1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh rosemary or thyme (Other fresh herbs work well too—oregano, Italian parsley, sage… it’s hard to go wrong.)
1 lemon, halved
1 or 2 heads garlic (Cut one in half crosswise to stuff in the chicken, and if you’re a garlic fan, keep one whole with the root end cut off to cook in the roasting pan.)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of rosemary or thyme, both halves of lemon, and 2 halves of the garlic (don’t peel). Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the sliced onions in the bottom of the roasting pan and put the chicken on top.
Roast the chicken for 1½ hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. (If cooking smaller chickens, you may need a little less cooking time). Put the whole garlic in the pan when there is one hour left to go. When chicken is finished cooking, remove the pan and cover chicken loosely with aluminum foil for 10 minutes, allowing the juices to collect in the meat. Slice the chicken onto a platter and pour the pan juices on top. Serve with the whole roasted garlic.
Bonus Chicken Stock
After dinner, take the chicken carcass with the lemon, garlic, and herbs still inside and place it in a pot with water just covering. Scrape whatever is left from the roasting pan into the pot—the cooked onions and the juices. Add salt. Gently simmer for two or three hours. If it’s late, let the whole thing cool in the fridge until morning. Then scrape the fat off the top, and using a colander or sieve, pour the stock into another pot catching the bones in the colander. Pour the stock into several smallish (pint or quart) storage containers, and voilá, chicken stock! Freeze the containers until needed for making soups or stews. There are different ways to make stock starting with an uncooked bird, but this one is a handy way to use up the entire chicken or chickens and receive the blessing of yet another meal possibility.