Recipe: Roasted Chicken With Herbs
One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. The Center does this by teaching skills that inspire students to establish independent healthy eating habits that lead to healthy and productive lives. Sounds like a good plan for all of us, which is why we’ve asked The Sylvia Center’s Liz Neumark, the founder of Great Performances, the farm and center, to share some recipes with us.
If frying is one of my favorite methods for preparing chicken, roasting is the other. It is easy enough for everyday meals. This is my basic method and it produces a juicy bird with crisp skin. Work out your own combination of herbs or increase the amount of chicken stock or substitute water if you prefer to omit the wine. I’ve found the skin stays crisper if I don’t baste the chicken as it roasts, so I don’t suggest it here. Roasted or mashed potatoes are an essential side.
Roasted Chicken With Herbs
One 4- to 5-pound roasting chicken, rinsed and patted dry
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, or olive oil
½ cup sliced carrots
½ cup sliced celery
½ cup sliced onion
4 sprigs thyme, plus 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
2 sprigs rosemary, plus
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
2 cups chicken stock, homemade or good-quality store bought
1 cup white wine
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
2 tablespoons roughly cut chives
The day before or at least 8 hours ahead of when you want to roast the chicken, season it inside and out with the salt and pepper. Cover the bird loosely with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Truss the chicken, tying its legs together with kitchen twine. Rub the butter all over the chicken. Put the carrots, celery, onion, and thyme and rosemary sprigs into a roasting pan with a rack. Place the chicken on the rack and set it into the pan; roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and roast for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until skin is nicely browned.
To check for doneness, place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, being careful not to pierce through to the cavity or strike a bone; the chicken is done at 165 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, tilt the chicken forward on the rack so that juices run from the cavity; the chicken is done if the juices that run out are clear, with no trace of pink. Return the chicken to the oven if necessary for 5 to 10 minutes. (Keep in mind that the chicken will continue to cook a bit after it is removed from the oven.)
Transfer the chicken to a platter and let it rest in a warm spot for 15 minutes. While the chicken is resting, remove the rack from the pan and pour off the excess fat but not the vegetables and herbs. Place the pan over medium- high heat and pour in the chicken stock and wine, as well as any juices that have accumulated around the chicken. Cook the pan juices while stirring and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they are slightly thickened. Strain the sauce into a bowl, pressing down to exude all the juices and flavors. Whisk the mustard into the juices to incorporate it well, then stir in the chopped thyme, rosemary, tarragon, and the chives. Carve the chicken and serve it with the sauce.
(Excerpted from SYLVIA’S TABLE by Liz Neumark. Copyright ©2013 by Random House. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.)