ROAST CHICKEN – loosely based on Robuchon’s recipe
1 free range chicken, approximately 4 1/2 to 5 pounds
Unsalted butter – 1 stick
1 tablespoon rosemary plus 2 sprigs
1 tablespoons thyme plus 2 sprigs
2 whole heads of garlic, unpeeled, cut in half horizontally plus 2 cloves peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 cup white wine
Save neck and giblets.
Loosen the skin from the breast and wiggle your fingers in over the meat, separating skin from breast meat. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO TEAR THE SKIN.
Leave the chicken, uncovered, on a sheet of foil in the refrigerator the night before roasting. The skin will become dry and taut. This makes for a crispier skin.
Make a compound butter. For a 4 1/2 pound bird use one stick of unsalted butter.
Beat one stick of unsalted butter until fluffy. Add 1T of the chopped fresh rosemary and 1T of the chopped fresh thyme to the butter. Mix well. Can be made ahead, but let the compound butter come to room temperature before using.
2 hours before roasting, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Dry chicken, if needed.
Preheat oven to 425.
Just before roasting: Spread the compound butter under the skin of the bird. Put a dab of butter on your fingers and smear it directly over the meat. You need only a thin ( I like more than very thin) coverage.
Salt and pepper the inside cavity of the chicken. Put 2 peeled garlic cloves, 1 sprig of thyme and 1 sprig of rosemary into cavity. Truss the bird loosely with twine.
Smear compound butter on outside of bird. Salt and pepper outside of bird.
Place the chicken on its side in the baking dish. Along side the chicken, scatter the reserved neck, the halved garlic heads ( cut side up), the rosemary and thyme. Place the baking dish in the center of the oven and roast, uncovered for 20 minutes. Baste the chicken, turn it to the other side, and roast for another 20 minutes. Baste again, turn the chicken breast side up, and roast for 20 minutes more, for a total time of 1 hour. These times are for a 4 3/4 to 5 pound bird. By this time the skin should be a deep golden color. (I don’t do this next part – Original recipe – Reduce the heat to 375 and baste again. Roast until juices run clear when you pierce a thigh with a skewer, about 15 minutes more.)
I let it roast for 1 hour only for a bird that weighed about 4 3/4 pounds –
Remove the dish from the oven and season the chicken with salt and pepper. (I don’t do this) Transfer the chicken to a platter and place it at an angle against the edge of an overturned plate, with its head down and tail in the air. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes. The chicken will continue to cook as it rests.
To make the jus – put pan over heat on the stove and deglaze with wine. Let simmer a bit and strain.