Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr
In 'Around My French Table' by Dorie Greenspan
- 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature (or 2 tablespoons oil or a mixture of half butter half oil)
- 1 (4 lb) whole chickens, at room temperature
- fresh ground black pepper
- 3⁄4-1 cup water (or a combination of water and dry white wine)
- Center a rack in the oven; preheat oven to 450°.
- Choose a suitable pan, a metal roasting pan, a cast-iron skillet, or a Dutch oven.
- Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pan with some of the butter and oil.
- Tie the chicken's legs together and fold the wings back, then rub the remaining butter and oil over the chicken.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Put the chicken on its side in the pan and roast undisturbed for 25 minutes.
- Turn the bird over onto its other side; roast for another 25 minutes.
- For the final flip, turn it onto its back and roast it, breast side up, for another 10 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and the juices run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh with the tip of a knife.
- While the chicken is finishing up in the oven, prepare for its resting headstand.
- Have at the ready a platter or a rimmed dish that can hold the bird comfortably and a small bowl.
- Pull the pan from the oven and transfer the chicken, breast side down, to the platter.
- Lift the chicken's tail in the air, slide the bowl under it, and balance the bird so that it's resting at an angle.
- Cover the chicken loosely with foil and let it rest for 10-20 minutes so that the juices can resettle themselves in the breast.
- If you'd like to make a little sauce, spoon the fat off the liquid in the pan, put the pan over medium heat, and add the water or water and wine, scraping up whatever solids have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Boil the sauce for a few minutes, taste, and season with salt and pepper.
- If you'd like, cut a tablespoon of cold butter into bits, and off the heat, swirl it into the sauce.
- Carve the chicken and serve it with the sauce.