Roast chicken is one of my signature dishes. I routinely roast a chicken once a week and I am always looking for new flavors or new ways to roast it. This recipe came from the book Rick Stein’s Secret France, 120 delicious new recipes for real French home cooking. The interesting thing about the recipe is that the chicken is cooked at a low temperature for a long time, 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
It’s a rainy cold day out outside and I can already smell the aroma of the house during that 2-2 1/2 hour cook time. I need that homey scent on such a dreary weekend day.
The chicken gets a classic preparation with lemon and garlic inside the cavity. Rub it with the flavored butter before popping it into the oven on the middle shelf. It’s the roasting at a low temperature that is new to me. I had a package of multi-colored carrots from Trader Joe’s to put into the bottom of the roasting pan and cook in the juices.
- I air-chilled, organic and free-range chicken (if possible) – it does make a difference (lucky you if you can get an heirloom one) See Note #1.
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 whole head of garlic, cut in half horizontally (it doesn’t need to be peeled)
- chunked potatoes or carrots or another root vegetable to put in the bottom of the roasting pan
Spiced rub for the chicken:
- 3 tablespoons of softened butter
- 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
- pinch of red pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of herbs de Provence or another favorite herb (thyme is always good)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F or 150 degrees C
- Dry the chicken with paper towels and put the two lemon halves and half of the whole head of garlic inside.
- Mix the spices and herbs with the butter. Rub the seasoned butter all over the bird.
- Place the vegetables and the other garlic half (cut side down) in the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the chicken, breast down, on top. Drizzle with olive oil. See Note #2. Place the roasting pan on the middle shelf of the oven.
- After 1 hour turn the chicken breast side up and baste it with the pan juices.
- After another hour has passed, baste it again.
- Roast a total of 2-1/2 hours for a chicken of about 3-1/2 pounds in weight. See Note #1. My chicken was just over 4 1/2 pounds, it was done in 2-1/2 hours.
- If you would like additional browning (which I did), remove it from the oven (take out the vegetables) and raise the temperature to 450 degrees F. Put the chicken back in for 10 minutes to bronze the skin.
Note #1: If your chicken is over 3.5 pounds in weight you may need to roast it longer. If smaller it might be done sooner. Test by seeing if you can move a leg freely or check with an instant-read thermometer. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees F at the thickest part of the thigh.
Note #2: I don’t tie the chicken or truss it. The thighs take the longest time to cook, if the legs are tied together, close to the body, it increases the chance that the breast will overcook before the thighs are done.
The smells filling the house were amazing. I wish I could have bottled it up and included it in this post.