I’ve been craving roast chicken for weeks now, and since I wanted to buy a whole bird to make stock this weekend anyway, we decided to go ahead and get two – one to poach for stock and the other to roast for dinner.
We caught the Myrtle Avenue bus down to Fort Greene, had brunch and headed over to the Greenmarket. We grabbed two fat little chickens from Dines Farms, ducked into Thirst Wine Merchants for a couple of bottles, then got back on the bus to take our goodies home before heading out again for more errands.
We returned home and snacked on some pate de campagne, baguette and cheese, then Mike mixed us a cocktail and I began prepping dinner. I seasoned the bird inside and out with lots of kosher salt and black pepper, then placed it into a shallow roasting pan. I loosened the skin over the breasts and stuffed thin slices of lemon, fresh sage leaves and fresh thyme under the skin, then stuffed more lemon, thyme and sage inside the cavity. I tied the legs then rubbed the whole bird with extra virgin olive oil, and I placed it into a preheated 400 degree oven.
Is it ready yet?
When the chicken was about half an hour short of being done, I basted it with some of the juices that had accumulated in the pan, rubbed some unsalted butter over the skin and let it finish cooking. I then boiled some fingerling potatoes (with the skins on) and four large peeled garlic cloves. When the potatoes were tender, I seasoned them with salt and pepper and added some olive oil to the pan, then smashed the potatoes and garlic with a potato masher, leaving them a bit chunky.
I set the chicken on a platter once it was cooked and poured the pan juices and a little of the fat into a saute pan. I whisked in a little bit of flour, brought it to a boil, then added an ounce and a half of cognac, fresh thyme, and lots of black pepper. When the mixture was smooth and slightly reduced, I finished it with a quarter cup or so of heavy cream. I carved the bird and served it on a mound of potatoes with a little of the gravy poured over. It was a perfect meal, except for the part where I got so distracted by how good the chicken was that I forgot to make a salad. Whoops.
Wine Note: Thirst carries one of my absolute favorite reds, the Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhone. I don’t know what it is about this wine, but it always knocks my socks off – the color, the smell of it, the fruit and smoke and pepper – it’s absolutely perfect with a simple meal like this or all by itself.