1 whole Sunday Roaster – these birds are usually between 6-7 lbs
1 t dried tarragon
1/2 t white pepper
1 onion, cut into large pieces
2 cups carrots, cut into 2 inch slices, or use whole baby cut carrots
1 T vegetable oil
1 cup chicken stock, low sodium
Spoon Mage Note:
Use as many carrots and onions as you like. Two cups provides a decent nest to keep the chicken elevated just a tad. Sweet and red onions work as beautifully as white onions – use what you have.
Remove the thawed chicken from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking. This allows the bird to cook more evenly.
The bird’s size temperature at the start of roasting impacts cooking time. Fortunately, cooked birds hold nicely if they need to wait a bit for the rest of dinner to play catch up. 20 minutes is the usual sit time to let the juices settle and a few minutes more won’t hurt it.
Make sides that can sit and wait for the bird if need be. Cold salads are the perfect roast chicken sides and prepared smashed potatoes sit nicely in the hot cookery pot with the lid kept on tight.
While timing things, don’t forget that it takes a few minutes to carve the bird up for the table. How long that takes depends upon your carving experience level. Allow 10 minutes at least.
If you accidentally roast the bird upside down, it is fine. Some folks prefer that anyway! Just tell everyone it was an experiment.
Preheat oven to 475ºF
Remove the “goodies” from the bird and discard or use the neck to make stock.
Wipe the bird inside and out with paper towels. Rinsing causes the chicken to lose flavor by rinsing away some of the fat that seasons the meat – and it can spread bacteria all over the sink and counter, so do reconsider rinsing. A good wipe down is sufficient as long as you are good about cooking the bird to the correct internal temperature.
Remove the fat pieces from the cavity entrance and reserve.
Sprinkle the cavity with tarragon and white pepper and lightly fill cavity with the skin and root end of the onion and a few baby carrots. Do not pack the cavity full or the bird will take longer to cook.
Rub the outside of the birdie with the vegetable oil and sprinkle a bit more tarragon and white pepper on the outside.
Layer carrots and onions into a baking dish.
Place the bird on top of the nest of carrots and onions. If you are a chicken trusser you can do so now, I’m not.
Lay the reserved pieces of fat on top of the bird and pour the stock on top of any exposed onions and carrots.
Roast for 30 minutes at 475ºF.
Baste with the stock and reduce the temperature to 400ºF and continue roasting for about an hour. Baste twice. If you need more stock, go ahead and add some.
After the full hour, test the bird at the meatiest part of the thigh with an instant read meat thermometer – it should read 160ºF. If it does not continue roasting until it does.
If your bird is large, heavily thighed, or was too cold at the start of roasting, it may take a little longer to cook. If you do not have a meat thermometer, roast until the juices run clear and you can move the legs about with ease.
If the bird finishes browning before it is done, simply cover the browned parts with foil, leaving exposed any part that needs a good browning.
Remove the beautiful bird from the oven, leave it in the pan to rest tightly tented in foil for 20 minutes – during this time the temperature will rise a bit more and the juices will redistribute guaranteeing you perfectly juicy meat.
Carefully lift the bird to a carving surface and discard the onion skin and carrots that seasoned the bird’s cavity. Carve in the manner you prefer. Place carrots and onions from beneath the bird in a bowl. Enjoy the meal and be mindfully thankful to the bird.