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Julia Child's Favorite Roast Chicken

Julia Child’s Favorite Roast Chicken

2 ½ T. unsalted butter
1/3 c. finely diced carrots
1/3 c. finely diced onions
1/3 c. finely diced celery
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 (3 ½-4 lb.) chicken
Salt, fresh black pepper
Parsley stems
Celery leaves
6 (1/8” thick slices of lemons)
½ c. sliced onion
½ c. sliced carrots
1 T. fresh lemon juice
¾ c. chicken stock or broth

  1. Preheat oven 425. Melt 1 T. butter in skillet. Add diced carrots, onion and celery and cook until softened. Stir in herbs.
  2. Wash chicken rapidly inside and out with hot water and pat thoroughly dry.
  3. For easier carving, cut out and discard wishbone (or have butcher do it). Pull the neck skin up over the breast and secure it to the back with a toothpick.
  4. Salt and pepper the cavity and spoon in the cooked veggies, a handful of parsley and celery stems and leaves and the lemon slices.
  5. Massage the chicken all over with the 1 T. butter, then truss it. Alternatively, tie the ends of the drumsticks together and tuck the wings under the body.
  6. Choose an oven proof roasting pan that is about 1” larger than the chicken.
  7. Salt the chicken all over and set it breast up on a rack in the pan.
  8. Roast chicken in oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes as follows:
    -At 15 minutes, brush chicken with remaining ½ T. of butter. Scatter the sliced onion and carrot all around. Reduce oven to 350.
    -At 45 minutes, brush lemon juice over the chicken. If necessary, add ½ c. of water to veggies to prevent burning.
    -At 60 minutes, baste with the pan juices. Test for doneness: the drumsticks should move easily in their sockets; their flesh should feel somewhat soft. If not, continue roasting, basting and testing every 6-8 minutes, until an instant read thermometer registers 165.
  9. Spear chicken through the shoulders; lift to drain; if the last of the juices run clear yellow, the chicken is done. Let rest on carving board for 15 minutes, discard string.
  10. Spoon all but 1 T. of fat from the juices in the pan. Add the stock and boil until lightly syrupy, 5 minutes. Strain, you will have just enough to bathe each serving with a fragrant spoonful.
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