Roast Chicken is one of the simplest things to make, and when done correctly, becomes an all time home comfort food favorite. I find that Kosher chickens are the most flavorful and juicy, particularly Empire Kosher Chickens (http://www.empirekosher.com/). If you can’t find a Kosher chicken, then make a quick brine solution by dissolving a ½ cup salt in 2 quarts of cold water in a large bowl. Immerse the chicken in the brine and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour (no longer!) Remove the chicken and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
1 Kosher roasting chicken, 4-5 pound
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1 lemon, quartered
1/2 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tsp. Herbs de Provence
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, (or homemade)
1. Let chicken stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove and discard the plastic pop-up timer from chicken if there is one. Remove the giblets and excess fat from the chicken cavity. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body. Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and set aside.
2. In the center of a heavy-duty roasting pan, scatter onion slices over bottom of pan. Insert garlic half, thyme sprigs, roseamary and lemon quarters into cavity. Place chicken in pan, on onion slices. Cut about 18 inches of kitchen twine, bring chicken legs forward, cross them, and tie together.
3. Spread the softened butter over entire surface of chicken, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and then herbs de Provence. Place in the oven, and roast until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and the juices run clear when pierced, about 1 1/2 hours. When chicken seems done, insert an instant-read thermometer into the breast, then the thigh. The breast temperature should read 170 degrees and the thigh 180 degrees.
4.Remove chicken from oven, and transfer to a cutting board with a well. Let chicken stand 10 to 15 minutes so the juices settle.
5. Meanwhile, pour the pan drippings into a shallow bowl or fat separator, and leave onions in the pan. Leave any brown baked-on bits in the bottom of the roasting pan, and remove and discard any blackened bits. Using a large spoon or fat separator, skim off and discard as much fat as possible. Pour the remaining drippings and the juices that have collected under the resting chicken back into the roasting pan. Place on the stove over medium-high heat to cook, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock, raise heat to high, and, using a wooden spoon, stir up and combine the brown bits with the stock until the liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Strain the gravy into a small bowl, pressing on onions to extract any liquid. Discard onions, and stir in the remaining tablespoon of cold butter until melted and incorporated. Untie the legs, and remove and discard garlic, thyme, and lemon. Carve, and serve gravy on the side.