Saturday, August 2, 2014

Juicy Roasted Chicken with Gravy

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 – 4 pounds) at room temperature, rinsed and patted dry 
2 TBSP softened butter 
5 garlic cloves, peeled (4 rough chopped, 1 minced) 
1/2 tsp sea salt 
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
1/2 tsp dried parsley 
1/2 tsp dried thyme 
1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters 
1 lemon, zested and cut into quartes 
1 celery stalk, cut into 3 pieces 
1 cup water 
Around 1 cup chicken broth 
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 
Additional salt and pepper to taste
Before starting, preheat your oven to 425o F and position your oven rack on the bottom third of your oven.

Place softened butter, 1 minced garlic clove, salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, and the zest from your lemon in a small bowl. Combine until smooth and creamy. 

Use your finger to loosen the skin from the back of the chicken until you can fit your hand under the skin. Repeat this with the breast side of the chicken, and then rub half of the herbed butter under the skin and the rest over the outside of the chicken. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Stuff the cavity of the chicken with two of the lemon slices, one quarter of the onion, and the celery.

Drizzle the bottom of a stainless steel roasting pan with olive oil. Scatter the remaining lemon slices, onion pieces, and garlic cloves around the bottom of the pan. Place the roasting rack in the pan and put the prepared chicken breast side up on the rack.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. The breast should be firm and just starting to brown in spots. 
Use tongs to turn the chicken breast down and roast for 30 more minutes, until the skin on the back is lightly browned. 
Using the tongs again, turn the chicken back to the breast side up. At this point add 1 cup of water to your pan. Roast for about 30 minutes longer, or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh reads 170o. 
Remove from oven and tilt the chicken to drain the cavity juices into the bottom of the pan. Remove the chicken to a serving platter. 

Remove the rack from the pan and strain the juices from the bottom of the pan into a medium sized bowl. Add enough chicken broth to equal 2 cups. (This should be about 1 cup of chicken broth) 
Ladle a couple of spoonfuls of the fatty juices from the top of the bowl into a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour. Let this cook for about 1 minute.. 
Slowly add the rest of the broth mixture, whisking the whole time to ensure you don’t get any lumps in your gravy. Bring gravy to a slow boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until gravy has thickened. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a serving dish.

Serve chicken with plenty of gravy and sides of your choice. These Garlic Carrot Potatoes make an excellent side to this meal along with a small side salad. 
Oh, and when you are done with dinner, don’t forget to throw the chicken bones into your slow cooker to make really easy, delicious, nutritious, and frugal chicken broth! Let it cook all-night long and it will be done in the morning. How easy is that?
A QUICK TIP ABOUT THE GRAVY: If your gravy ends up with lumps in it (because you stopped stirring it to take a picture!), transfer the gravy to a blender and blend for a few seconds until it is smooth. Return the gravy to the pan over medium heat and allow it to boil again until thick. 

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