Why was I roasting this chicken at eight this morning? In part because I knew it was nestled in the fridge, just waiting to be roasted with carrots and shallots, sweet butter, and a small handful of fresh rosemary, but mostly because I was so caught up in Downton Abbey AND the Super Bowl last night I couldn't tear myself away. So I woke up with the all-consuming vision of hot roasted chicken, drizzled with pan juices, tucked up with some little potatoes, rosemary sprigs, and carrots that roasted right along with the chicken, and nothing would do but to plunge ahead and make it for an early lunch.
I started with a 4 lb chicken, so if you have a bigger or smaller one, the cooking times should be adjusted.
First, take the chicken out of the wrapper and blot it all over with a tea towel. Let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes or so.
While it's sitting, cut up:
4 medium carrots, peeled
4 small to medium potatoes
2 shallots, peeled
or any other assortment of vegetables you wish.
Set aside the vegetables.
Preheat oven to 425F.
Using your fingers, rub soft unsalted butter (you can also use olive oil, but it's not quite the same) all over the outside of the chicken, and put a tablespoon or so inside the chicken.
Sprinkle a teaspoon of kosher salt inside the cavity of the chicken, as well as some rosemary sprigs and a little thyme. Do not salt the outside of the chicken.
Place the chicken in the roasting pan and arrange the cut up vegetables around it, and roast for 25 minutes.
Sprinkle kosher salt on the chicken, turn the heat down to 350F, and continue to roast the chicken for another hour, basting two or three times with a spoon, baster, or brush. Baste quickly, so the heat doesn't escape from the oven .
How do you know when it's done? Tip the chicken at one end and let the juices run out. They should be fairly clear. Wiggle the drumstick to make sure it isn't too tight. It will sit and continue to cook another half hour after you remove it from the oven, so one and a half hours should be fine for a chicken 3 1/2 or 4 pounds.
Remove the chicken and let sit for 20 minutes, so the juices are re-absorbed, then slice and serve with the vegetables and a few spoonfuls of the juices. Some nice side dishes would be sliced steamed cabbage with butter or olive oil, sliced and sauteed brussels sprouts, or some broiled tomatoes with basil, or braised celery.
What I'm reading: The Kitchen Daughter , a gumbo of a book: grief, Aspberger's, memory and family, magical recipe cards. Loved it.