- 1 3-to-4 pound fryer or roasting chicken
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon pepper
- 6 fresh sprigs rosemary
- 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
- 4 large carrots, peeled
- 1 large onion
- 4 stalks celery
- 1 head garlic
- 4 medium potatoes, any kind
- 1 - 2 tablespoons flour
- Preheat oven to 550 degrees F
- Remove and discard giblets and any other foreign objects that you find inside the bird. Rinse chicken under cold water, then pat dry.
- Rub chicken inside and out with salt and pepper.
- Cut rosemary sprigs into 4-inch pieces, put a couple of sprigs inside the cavity of the bird, then slide the rest between the skin and the breast meat of the bird. Cross the chicken legs and hold in place by tucking them under the skin, or bind with some mailing twine. Rub skin with butter.
- Chop up carrots and celery into 2-inch lengths. Cut onion into quarters and separate layers. Separate garlic cloves, but leave them in their skins.
- In a large roasting pan, or similar facsimile, make a "nest" in the middle with all of the carrots, celery, onions and garlic cloves. Place the bird, upside down (breast meat down), on the nest.
- Quarter the potatoes and spread them around the perimeter of the pan.
- Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- After the 20 minutes are up, reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Take the bird out, turn it right-side up, re-cover with aluminum foil and return to oven for 20 more minutes. If chicken weighs more than 3 pounds, add 20 extra minutes for every additional pound during this step.
- Take off the aluminum foil (save it), baste bird and potatoes with the drippings and cook for 20 final minutes.
- Remove chicken from oven, place on a plate, re-cover tightly with aluminum foil and let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before carving (this locks in the juices). While chicken is sitting, toss the veggies back in the oven and crank it back up to 550 degrees.
- Remove rosemary from under skin. Carve bird and serve along with the veggies, bread and wine.
- To make a quick gravy, strain the drippings and slowly whisk in the flour until gravy reaches the desired consistency.
Le Secret: Don't open the oven door, except as directed.
The Adventure Club: Add parsnips, Brussels sprouts and whole heads of garlic (with the pointy third sliced off) to the vegetable "nest."
- Don't be intimidated by length of the recipe. It's only wordy because I have articulated all the steps to make them foolproof.
- Roasting is not an exact science. Some birds just take longer than others, and some ovens may not be the temperature they claim to be. To test chicken for doneness before serving, make a deep incision in the thickest section of the breast meat and make sure that no pink remains. If chicken and potatoes are not adequately browned, place them under the broiler for a few watchful minutes.