French Roast Chicken

Recipe by Tricia Wheeler
erves 4–6

Buy a large, free-range organic roasting chicken, pair it with stuffing and roasted local root vegetables—and it will be special enough for any holiday meal.

1 5- to 8-pound free-range organic roasting chicken
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon butter reserved
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch slices (keep slices together)
1 lemon, poked with fork tines
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 sprigs tarragon, mince 3 sprigs, reserve 2 sprigs
10–15 small new potatoes, halved
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup white wineSalt and pepper

 Remove any giblets from inside chicken, rinse chicken thoroughly with cold water and pat completely dry with paper towels. Let chicken and butter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 425°.

 Mix garlic and minced tarragon with softened butter. Turn chicken breast side up, and with your fingers separate skin from chicken. Spread half of butter mixture under skin. Spread remaining butter mixture all over chicken. Generously salt and pepper skin and cavity of chicken. Put lemon and tarragon sprigs in chicken cavity. Tie legs together and tuck wing tips under body. Lay sliced onions side-by-side in a roasting pan. Place chicken on side in pan. Pour stock around onions. Roast chicken for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, turn chicken to other side and baste with stock from pan. Add potatoes to pan. Roast 20 minutes more.

 Reduce the oven temperature to 375°. Turn chicken breast side down; baste with stock and roast for 30 minutes. Turn chicken breast side up, baste with stock and roast until skin is golden brown and juices run clear (thermometer reads 180°)—approximately 30–45 minutes. Remove chicken from pan, cover and let rest 15 minutes before carving.

 Place potatoes onto serving platter and keep warm. To make gravy: Skim fat from pan, leaving any juices that have accumulated. Place roasting pan, with onions, over medium heat on stove; scrape brown bits off bottom of pan and add wine. If needed, add more stock to pan. Cook about 4 minutes. Serve onion gravy on the side.