Sunday, January 3, 2010

Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy

As I sat down going through my recipe folder, I realized that the recipes I had selected to cook this week all called for shredded chicken breasts.  I flipped through my files and found a recipe I had saved from Gourmet Magazine (March 2009).  This recipe was perfect because it provided me with a beautiful roast chicken dinner as well as enough left-over chicken to make my tortilla soup as well as a chicken tamale casserole I want to try later this week.  Here’s the recipe, a video on how to carve a chicken, and some pictures from tonight’s dinner.  I served it with mashed red potatoes and glazed carrots.  Also, I didn’t have any unsalted butter on hand so I used regular salted butter and just cut down on the seasoning salt.

Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy

March 2009 Gourmet Magazine

In an uncertain world, everybody needs a truly excellent recipe for roast chicken, one that will never, ever fail you. This is it. And although basting the chickens seems like a chore, it will give them a beautiful burnished glow. Killing two birds with one stone—that is, cooking two birds together—provides dinner tonight and enough leftovers for three more meals. Saving both chicken carcasses for the stockpot (they can be frozen if desired) is key.

2 whole chickens (about 3 1/2 lb each)
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, divided
6 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 lemons, halved
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups water
Kitchen string
Rosemary, Thyme, or Sage (optional)

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle. Pull off excess fat around cavities of chickens and discard, then rinse chickens and pat dry. Melt 4 Tbsp butter with garlic and brush butter all over chickens. Season both chickens inside and out with 2 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper (total). Put half of garlic and 1 lemon half in each cavity and loosely tie legs together with string. Roast chickens in a large (17- by 11-inch) flameproof roasting pan, basting with pan juices using a spoon (remove pan from oven and tilt if necessary) every 20 minutes, rotating pan, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into fleshy part of a thigh of each chicken (do not touch bone) registers 170°F, 50 to 60 minutes total. Baste chickens once more, then carefully tilt them so juices from cavities run into roasting pan. Transfer chickens to a cutting board (reserve pan) and let rest 15 minutes before carving.

Pour off all but 2 Tbsp fat from pan, then cook remaining drippings over medium-high heat until deep golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in water and simmer, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in remaining 4 Tbsp butter and lemon juice to taste (from remaining lemon halves). Season with salt and pepper. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a gravy boat.

Cooks' Note: If desired, you can also add herbs such as thyme or rosemary to cavities before roasting.

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