This is a Julia Child recipe, from the book Mastering The Art of French Cooking, by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, and Julia Child. It is the base recipe I will be using to prepare a chicken for Poulet au Porto, Roast Chicken Steeped with Port Wine, Cream and Mushrooms.
Okay, it's reality check time. I'm sure this is a great roasting recipe, if you are equipped for it. If your kitchen is not in the process of being moved, and you can't find your kitchen twine and don't just blow off the whole "trussing" thing. Anyway. It worked, but I couldn't do all the darn flipping and turning, I just couldn't, and honestly I'm not much of an attentive baster either. So with that in mind, I will tell you that the chicken did turn out, but the skin wasn't crispy. Not a huge deal, but next time, I believe I might roast the chicken on the grill, and then proceed with my newly beloved Poulet au Porto.
Maybe if you don't have screaming kids who were served ice cream sandwiches after school instead of the usual tacos, this roast chicken will be easier for you to accomplish. I'm not saying this is a bad recipe, the chicken turned out fabulous, just not pretty. I'm just not convinced Julia would have been impressed with my results. But I figured since I was going to light it on fire anyway, it wouldn't matter that much.
For 4 people
Estimated roasting time for a 3-pound chicken: 1 hour and 10 to 20 minutes
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
A 3-pound, ready-to-cook roasting or frying chicken
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons softened butter
Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with the salt, and smear in half the butter. Truss the chicken. (oops). Dry it thoroughly, and rub the skin with the rest of the butter.
A shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold the chicken easily
To flavor the sauce: a small sliced carrot and onion
For basting: a small saucepan containing 2 tablespoons melted butter; 1 tablespoon good cooking oil; a basting brush
Place the chicken breast up in the roasting pan. Strew the vegetables around it, and set it on a rack in the middle of the preheated oven. Allow the chicken to brown lightly for 15 minutes, turning it on the left side after 5 minutes, (this is the reason your chicken should be trussed), on the right side for the last 5 minutes, and basting it with the butter and oil after each turn. Baste rapidly, so the oven does not cool off.
Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Leave the chicken on its side, and baste every 8 to 10 minutes (sorry, just didn't happen), using the fat in the roasting pan when the butter and oil are exhausted. Regulate oven eat so chicken is making cooking noises, but fat is not burning.
Halfway through estimated roasting time, salt the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and turn it on its other side. Continue basting.
Fifteen minutes before end of estimated roasting time, salt again with 1/4 teaspoon salt and turn the chicken breast up. Continue basting.
Indications that the chicken is almost done are: a sudden rain of sputters in the oven, a swelling of the breast and slight puff of the skin, the drumstick is tender when pressed and can be moved in its socket. To check further, prick the thickest part of the drumstick with a fork. Its juices should run clear yellow. As a final check, lift the chicken and drain the juices from its vent. If the last drops are clear yellow, the chicken is definitely done. If not, roast another 5 minutes, and test again.
**Note from Min: You can also tell if the chicken is done with a meat thermometer that registers about 170 degrees when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh!!**
When done, discard the trussing strings and set the chicken on a hot platter. It should sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before being carved, so its juices will retreat back into the tissues.