A whole roasted chicken with velvety, fortified pan gravy is a comfort food classic that everyone craves. It was the first thing I learned to make as a kid, absorbing my grandmother’s kitchen wisdom practically by osmosis as I helped her cook this dish every weekend. Just the smell of schmaltz and scorched onions transports me back to Saturday mornings in her tiny New York City apartment. Follow her basic rules, and I guarantee you will cook the chicken perfectly every single time. First, dry the chicken uncovered in the fridge for a couple hours to ensure crispy skin. Next, make sure to truss the chicken to promote even cooking. Season it simply with butter, salt, paprika and sage. For moist breast meat, don’t baste the bird while it’s roasting—the scalding fat won’t do your chicken any favors. And most importantly, utilize the fond in the bottom of the roasting pan for a flavorful, rich gravy.
- 1 chicken (naturally raised, 2.5 to 3 pounds)
- 2 stems fresh tarragon
- 2 stems fresh rosemary
- 2 stems fresh sage
- 2 stems fresh thyme
- 2 garlic cloves (smashed)
- 1 yellow onion (medium, quartered)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter (softened)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried sage
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon butter
- mashed potatoes (or side dish of choice, for serving)
- chives (thinly sliced for garnish)
- Wash the chicken with a damp paper towel, then pat it dry with another paper towel. Let the chicken sit in the fridge for 2 hours uncovered to dry out the skin a bit.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Make a bouquet garni with 1 stem tarragon, 1 stem rosemary, 1 stem sage and 1 stem thyme. Place the bouquet garni inside of the cavity of the chicken. Place 2 smashed garlic cloves in the cavity of the chicken. Pro tip: To make a bouquet garni, gather the herb sprigs and tie together with a piece of unwaxed kitchen string or butcher's twine."
- Place 1 stem tarragon, 1 stem rosemary, 1 stem sage and 1 stem thyme in the bottom of the roasting pan. Cut 1 medium yellow onion into quarters, or eighths if your chicken is on the smaller side. Place the cut onion in the bottom of the roasting pan with the herbs.
- Truss the chicken, securing the legs together above the crown of the breast using butcher’s twine.
- Rub the chicken with 1 1/2 Tbsp. softened butter. Season the chicken with 1 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. paprika and 2 tsp. sage. Place the bird in a roasting rack nested in a roasting pan over the herbs and onions. Let the bird come to room temperature. Place it in the oven on the center rack. Turn temperature down to 350 degrees F and roast for 70-90 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.
- After 70 minutes, check to see that chicken is done. The internal temperature of the thigh should be over 165 degrees F. Remove from oven or add time as needed.
- Remove chicken from rack, tilting to let any of the juices from the cavity pour into the pan. Place the chicken on a cutting board and tent with foil, allowing it to rest while you make the gravy. Remove the onions from the roasting pan and reserve. Place the roasting pan over low heat. Add the 2 cups of stock. As it begins to simmer, scrape pan with a wooden spoon or spatula to melt all the sticky bits into the stock. Remove the tarragon and thyme stems, discard. Mix 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. flour in a sauce pan to create a roux. Cook for one minute, stirring. Set aside. Pour all of the contents of the roasting pan into a 4-cup glass measure or fat separator.
- Let the rich stock settle for 90 seconds and carefully skim and discard the fat, or save it for another use. Place pot with roux over low heat. Add the skimmed stock to the roux, stirring to incorporate. Add the reserved onions to the pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Cook for about 10 minutes, until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Carve the chicken. Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy. Garnish with chives.
|Calories410Calories from Fat150|
|% DAILY VALUE|
|Calories from Fat150|
|% DAILY VALUE|
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.