When the weather goes one degree below 70 I immediately crave roasted chicken. I am a full on, die hard Martha fan. I have a ton of her books. Get Living. Got every Weddings mag way before I met the man of my dreams and have cooked this recipe so many times that it takes like ten seconds for me to make it. She has the recipe all over the place but when I go to my wall of cookbooks I grab this copy. And use her Roast Chicken 101 recipe. If you have never made a roast chicken, follow the recipe word for word. It's truly a great learning recipe. My grandmother always says, "If you can read, you can cook."
Slice a few carrots, fingerling potatoes, and onions to cover your baking dish.
This little bird had a fun life on the farm before coming home with us. It wasn't pumped with hormones and that makes me happy. I bought it at the Waverly Market on 32nd Street in Baltimore. I go every weekend and this past weekend, the air was crisp, the market was packed and I felt moved to indulge in some organic protein. Wash off the chicken, make sure the rib cage is free of the giblet bag. This one was giblet free, thankfully. That bag makes me gag even though I know it is great to put the neck and heart (gag) in the gravy to flavor it. Dry off the bird and generously salt the inside. Make sure your lemon is room temperature and stuff the chicken cavity with it. You can even prick a few holes in the lemon.
Use fresh herbs to fill the cavity. I've used sage in the past but there is nothing more wonderful than the savory smells and flavors of Rosemary. You can even put the Rosemary under the skin. Or put very thin slices of lemon under the skin. I prefer butter. Put (2) 1 tablespoon pats under each section, four total, and mush it around under the skin. It keeps the birdie moist.
Butter is your friend with this dish. Make sure the skin is dry. Rub more butter all over the outside to coat. Then I like to use Dean and Deluca herbs for poultry, salt and pepper. It has a ton of Rosemary. The spices make a crispy, crusty skin so don't be shy, sprinkle away. Add a few more tablespoons of butter to the pan. I didn't add any olive oil to this dish and the butter worked perfectly to roast the vegetables.
Bake at 425 for 115 minutes.
While you are being super domestic, why not go crazy and make some dressing to go with your bad ass chicken. Dressing, not stuffing because it isn't stuffed in the bird. Begin by removing the casing of a sage flavored sausage. Brown in an eight inch iron skillet.
Add fresh, Italian, flat leaf parsley.
Chop two stalks of celery, a cup of toasted pecans and coat the pan with half a bag of Pepperidge Farm Corn Bread Stuffing (or is it called bread crumbs?)
Add one egg. This was a TWIN egg with two yolks. I love twins. I was a nanny for two sets of twins when I was a freshmen in college! Then pour about a cup of chicken stock into the pan, making it just wet. You really have to eyeball this. Mix up everything in the pan.
Spread the stuffing mix into the pan, kind of smoothing it so it is all level. Add to the oven when you have 25 minutes left to cook the chicken. It will have a nice golden color when it comes out of the oven.
Voila. A perfectly delicious chicken, with a natural jus, roasted vegetables and stuffing. Now aren't you glad it's getting chilly?
Our guest cleaned her plate.
Thank you to all the people who encouraged me to cook. It began with memories of my family cooking at home of course. Momma made homemade peanut butter in the Cuisinart and Daddy fed his bread yeast starter for the best sourdough bread ever. My grandmother makes Hershey Bar Cakes and hands down the best salad dressing. For any Junior Leaguer who ever wrote a recipe in a cookbook, thanks. And thank you Martha, for being you.