Tuesday, April 7, 2009

French Roasted Chicken

A friend of mine charged me with the task of teaching her how to make a whole chicken. My mom had recently taken a trip to Provence, and brought me back authentic Herbes de Provence. One of the strongest flavors was the lavender, and I had never cooked with it before. When I was a kid, my mom used to make “chicken with and an egg” which was a whole roasted chicken stuffed with a whole lemon. I mixed the idea of this dish, and used a new ingredient that I had procured, and the results were memorable. This is by far, the best roast chicken I’ve ever had, and I think you’ll agree too.

French Roast Chicken feeds 5 comfortably
1 whole chicken 4-5 pounds
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 garlic cloves chopped roughly
5 tablespoons Herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon dried mint
2 teaspoons white pepper
3 tablespoons sea salt
5 tablespoons cold butter
1 lemon cut into quarters
6 tablespoons fresh lavender
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450
Wash the chicken and pat very dry. Set aside. You’ll want the chicken to be room temperature, and the butter ice cold. Using the back of a fork, mash together lemon zest, garlic, herbs, white pepper, salt and butter. Once you have a paste, separate the skin from the chicken breast and legs. Rub the herbed butter mixture all over the bird- inside and outside of the skin and inside of the cavity. Place on a roasting pan and stuff the chicken with the quartered lemons. Turn the chicken wings under and tuck the tips into the side of the chicken. Secure the wings and the legs/back with a piece of twine.
Roast the chicken breast side up for 10-15 minutes at 450 or until the breast is a light golden brown. Turn the heat down to 350 and roast for 45 minutes to one hour or until the internal temperature is at 165 at the thickest part on the chicken—in a leg or through the breast, making sure not to touch bone. Baste with any juices as needed- but don't for the last 15 minutes- you'll want the skin to be crispy. As you’re checking on your bird, if you start to notice that the skin is getting to dark, cover with foil, taking care not to keep the oven open too long.

Remove the chicken and tent for 10-15 minutes to let it rest. Carve the chicken and serve with your favorite sides. I like to serve this dish with roasted parsnips and beets or make it ahead of time for the best chicken salad you’ve ever had. Save me a leg!

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