|2½ tablespoon||Unsalted butter|
|⅓ cup||Each finely diced carrots, onion and celery|
|1 teaspoon||Thyme, savory or mixed herbs or 2 fresh thyme sprigs|
|4 pounds||Fresh chicken|
|Salt & freshly ground pepper|
|Parsley stems &celery leaves|
|6||1/8-inch thick lemon slices|
|½ cup||Each sliced onion & carrot|
|1 tablespoon||Fresh lemon juice|
|¾ cup||Chicken stock or broth|
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet. Add the diced carrots, onion and celery and cook over moderate heat until softened about 5 minutes. Stir in the herbs.
Wash the chicken rapidly inside and out with hot water and pat thoroughly dry. For easier carving, cut out and discard the wishbone. Pull the neck skin up over the breast and secure it to the back with a toothpick. 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 then truss it. (Alternatively, tie the ends of the drumsticks together and tuck the wings under the body) Preheat oven to 425F. Choose a flameproof roasting pan that is 1 inch larger than the chicken. Salt the bird all over and set it breast up on a rack in the pan.
Roast the chicken in the oven for about 1½ hours, as follows: AT 15 MINUTES: Quickly brush the bird with the remaining ½ tablespoon of butter. Scatter the sliced vegetables around the bird.
Reduce oven temperature to 350F.
AT 30 MINUTES: Baste the chicken with the pan drippings.
AT 45 MINUTES: Brush the lemon juice over the chicken, Add ½ cup of water to the pan to prevent the vegetables from burning.
AT 60 MINUTES: Baste with the pan drippings. Begin testing chicken for doneness: the drumsticks should move fairly easily in their sockets and their flesh should feel somewhat soft. If not, continue roasting, basting and testing every 7-8 minutes.
Spear the chicken through the shoulders and lift it up to drain; if the last of the juices run clear yellow, the chicken is done. Set it on a carving board and discard string. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Spoon all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the juices in pan. Add the stock and boil rapidly until reduced and lightly syrupy. Strain the juices -- you will have just enough to bathe each serving with a fragrant spoonful.
Rerinted from Food and Wine Magazine - January 1997.
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