Roast Chicken and Gravy

We have mostly done roast chicken that we flatten first by removing the backbone. The flattened bird cooks faster but this preparation is more classical in that we roast the chicken whole. We perfume the cavity and under the skin with lemon, garlic, and herbs, and make a quick gravy for a delicious comfort food treat.

Servings and Times

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hours

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We start by preheating the oven to 450 degrees and removing the chicken from the fridge. Next we make the paste to put under the skin of the chicken. We mince 4 cloves of garlic and put them in a small bowl. We add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, the lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. We mix this up with a spoon. We de-stem about ½ tablespoon of the fresh rosemary and chop coarsely, leaving a large piece of branch and rosemary leaves for the cavity of the chicken. We add the chopped rosemary to the small bowl. We destem one of the lemon thyme sprigs and add this to the the bowl as well. The remaining sprig of lemon thyme will perfume the inside of the chicken as it roasts.

We decide to bake the chicken on a large shallow half-sheet pan (like a cookie sheet with edges). In the center of the pan, we pour in a teaspoon of olive oil and add the carrots, celery, and onion pieces. We rub these around in the oil and create a bed for the chicken.

We are now ready for the chicken. We rinse the chicken with cold water, remove the bag of innards to a clean plate, dry the chicken with paper towels, and place it on the bed of vegetables on the baking pan. The chicken is breast side up with the legs facing us. Next, we tuck the wing tips under the bird. We open the bag of innards and rinse the neck, the heart and gizzard and place them in a small saucepan. The liver is not in the bag, if it would have been, we usually discard it. We wash our hands well and cover the chicken pieces in the small pot with water. We place over medium heat and when it comes to a boil we lower it to a gentle simmer and skim the white foam occasionally with our “skimmer”. This will be a quick stock for the gravy.

Meanwhile, we loosen the skin of the chicken from the breasts and put the rosemary mixture under the skin. We cut the lemon half into two pieces and put these in the large cavity (between the drumsticks) along with the remaining garlic cloves and herb branches. We rub the rest of the olive oil on top of the chicken and sprinkle on some salt and pepper (of course washing our hands in between!). We are roasting whole potatoes tonight so we put these along the edges of the large baking pan, otherwise we could have used a smaller baking dish for the chicken.

We place the chicken in the oven on the bottom shelf with the legs going in the oven first. We cook for about 50 minutes. We test the chicken at this point with our thermometer. We want the leg-thigh joint to be 180 degrees. This takes us over an hour.

We remove the chicken to a platter to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, we remove the vegetables from the baking pan to a plate (we can serve these along with the chicken). We pour in the wine and scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. We pour the liquid through a strainer into a large measuring cup.

We strain the quick chicken stock with the “skimmer” into a 1-cup measuring cup. We have just under 1 cup of stock. We allow the stock to settle a bit and any fat to rise to the top. There isn’t much. We use a spoon to add some of the fat (about a tablespoon) from the wine-browned bits cup that has floated to the top to the rinsed out small saucepan. We heat this over medium heat and add the flour. We stir well with a wooden spoon and slowly add the rest of the wine-browned bits mixture. Then we add the quick stock and stir well. We bring this to a boil and simmer it for about 10 minutes so it gets thick and flavorful. We add salt and pepper to taste.

We carve the chicken and serve it with the gravy.

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