In France, a roast chicken dinner in a small corner bistro is the stuff dreams are made of. While walking down the streets of any French town, you smell the aroma of the roasting poulet as you stroll along. I don’t think I ever went into a bistro without seeing a roast chicken on the menu, usually served with root vegetables and roasted potatoes of some kind.
I remember when I was newly married and was dying to impress my new husband with my culinary skills – such as they are – and share with him memories of the days I lived overseas. A few months into our marriage, there was a roast chicken gracing the cover of a popular national newsstand cooking magazine. I tore out the recipe, painstakingly purchased the ingredients and carefully prepared the evening’s meal. It didn’t turn out as well as the roast chicken in the bistros in France, but it was pretty darn good. Even better? The house smelled amazing while the chicken was roasting and for hours after our feast.
This recipe is similar to the one I made all those years ago and easy to accomplish.
With whole fryers on sale this week, you can cook one and save one for next week.
Roast Chicken with Carrots
whole fryer chicken (3 1/2 to 4 lbs), wingtips removed
freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, sliced in half
1 bunch fresh thyme
10 cloves garlic, peeled
8 carrots, peeled, trimmed and halved crosswise
1 to 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 425° F. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season well with salt and pepper. Stuff with lemon, thyme and half of the garlic; Then, using butcher’s string, secure the wings and legs to the body.
Place chicken in a small roasting pan or large, deep, oven-proof heavy skillet. Surround with the carrots and remaining garlic, then add 1 cup of the chicken stock. Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast the chicken for 15 minutes at 425° F. If you have a convection oven, you can reduce the heat to 375° F for the remaining time (otherwise, just keep it at 425° F). Roast until chicken is golden and carrots are well caramelized, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, basting with broth and pan juices every 15 minutes for the first 45 minutes. Add stock if pan looks dry.
Transfer chicken, carrots and garlic to a platter. Discard twine, thyme and lemon, and let chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Skim fat from pan juices and discard. Add vinegar to remaining pan juices and serve over the chicken.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 858, Calories from Fat: 488, Fat: 54 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 341 mg, Sodium: 1093 mg, Carbohydrates: 16 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 79 g