When I was first married (in another lifetime!), I wanted so badly to learn how to cook everything from scratch. I thought that THAT was the secret to being a good wife, especially a “stay-at-home” one. So, once I became Mrs. I sought out the expertise of my Mother, who taught home economics at a local high-school. She taught young women how to cook, sew and take care of their homes. Keep in mind this was an era where that was still the goal of many young women my age; how to be a good wife. I called Mom, and asked if she and my step-father Bill would come to dinner at my house with the caveat that she had to teach me how to break down a whole chicken. Since buying a whole chicken was an inexpensive option, it followed that I should extend the “good wife” philosophy by being as frugal as possible with the money that I didn’t make. It was an important contribution I wanted to make, even thought it wasn’t my husbands expectation. I remember that evening very vividly. I didn’t own the best knives (as I didn’t learn how to buy a proper knife until years later) but I was able to cut up an entire fryer lickity split, with my Mothers’ guidance. From then on, I was able to make my husbands favorite fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy and steamed green beans once a week. I was proud to be a good wife.
These days, you can grab a whole baked chicken at your local grocer lickity split. But, if you can keep yourself from simply grabbing one off the shelf and make this one instead, you will probably be pleasantly surprised at how easy and luscious it is. The grocery store version is a good alternative when you’re in a pinch, but trust me when I tell you, your home roasted version will be much more flavorful and juicy! The trick is in slathering your bird with butter, salt, and in this version, rosemary in between the skin and the meat. This makes for a delectable and uber juicy roasted chicken. Using the basics of this recipe, you will find that roasting a chicken on a weeknight is a cinch! You could easily just add some yukon gold potatoes and whatever vegetables are in season to the bottom of the roasting pan, pour in some chicken broth and roast for one hour, basting occasionally and tenting with aluminum foil once the bird gets to the perfect brown color. Add this one to your arsenal and you won’t be sorry! This is also a perfect dish for a dinner party because it’s presentation is very impressive!
- 1 4 pound whole roasting chicken
- 3 cloves Fresh garlic divided; 2 smashed; 1 minced
- 2 tbsp sprigs fresh rosemary or 2 dried
- 2 lemon divided; one quartered one juiced
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 tsp Kosher salt divided; and to taste
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
- 6 shallots peeled and quartered
- 3 pears firm cored, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 cup chicken broth or stock
- cup ¼ walnut halves
- 3 tbsp champagne vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp toasted walnut oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove giblets and neck from the cavity of the chicken and discard (if you like to cook them separately - go for it!). Place 2 crushed garlic cloves, rosemary sprigs and lemon inside the chicken cavity.
Combine chopped rosemary with softened butter and ¾ tsp salt; mix into a paste. Starting at each breast, gently loosen the skin from the bird with your fingers and carefully spread the butter mixture between the meat and skin. Once you've been able to get a good amount of butter mixture under the skin, you can manipulate it on top of the skin to spread it evenly. Spread some of the butter mixture on top of the skin and drumsticks. Tuck the wings under the bird and tie the drumsticks together with some kitchen twine. Place the bird breast side up on a roasting pan.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes, If the skin begins to brown too much, tent the bird with aluminum foil. After 25 minutes, place the pears and shallots in the baking pan. Return to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes basting the chicken every 5 minutes.
After baking for an additional 30 minutes, add the walnuts to the baking pan and bake for another 10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove from the oven, place the chicken on a platter, tent with aluminum foil and let stand for about 20 minutes to redistribute the juices.
While the chicken is resting, place the roasting pan on the stove. Cook over medium heat. Add ¼ tsp salt, vinegar, honey, lemon juice and the one minced garlic clove. Cook until reduced to about ½ cup (about 3 to 5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the walnut oil
Serve whole with pears, shallots and walnuts arranged around the platter. Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables. (champagne vinegar can be substituted with white wine vinegar. Rather than honey, agave or maple syrup can be used. Additionally, dried rosemary can be substituted for fresh),