Roasted chicken is my absolute favourite Sunday dinner, and it has been since I was a little kid. When it’s well seasoned and properly cooked, it’s truly a thing of beauty.
My mother used to make three meals out of one bird: roast chicken, then chicken sandwiches, and finally chicken soup with stock made from the bones. Stuffing it with Boursin cheese makes the meat even more moist, and gives you a nice condiment to serve with the bird.
The mirepoix is essentially diced carrots, celery, celery root, and onions. Most people prepare a quick sauce by deglazing the roasting pan and using the mirepoix to flavor the sauce. But me, I just like to eat those beautifully caramelized vegetables. I usually serve this with a green leafy salad and mustard vinaigrette to complement the dish—or if I want to please the crowd, a solid Caesar salad will do the trick.
Serves four to six lucky people.
1½ to 2-kilogram high-quality chicken. This is the key to success. Spend your money on it.
Kosher salt, 1 per cent of the weight of the chicken in grams (for a two-kilogram bird, use 20 grams salt)
Black pepper to your liking
1 Boursin cheese, garlic-and-herb or black-pepper flavour
2 small red onions
5 medium-sized carrots
4 celery stalks
1 small celery root
1 bulb garlic, separated into cloves
1 sprig rosemary, picked
3 sprigs thyme, picked
100 gram unsalted butter, melted
One day before
Wash the chicken in cold running water and pat dry. Remove the wishbone and the wing tips.
Season every part of the chicken, including the cavity, with salt and pepper.
Put the bird on a rack and leave it in the refrigerator overnight for up to 24 hours until the skin looks dry—this will help the chicken skin become crispy as you’re roasting it.
The day of
Remove the chicken from the fridge and let it sit out on the counter for two hours so that it comes to room temperature. Putting a cold chicken in the oven is a bad idea, believe me. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stuff the chicken with the Boursin cheese. If you know how to truss a chicken, show off your skills; otherwise it’s not a big deal.
Cut the red onions, carrots, celery, and celery root into three-quarter-inch chunks, then toss them in a large mixing bowl together with the garlic cloves, rosemary leaves, thyme leaves, melted butter, and a healthy pinch of salt. Put the vegetables in the bottom of the roasting pan and rest the chicken on top of them.
You’re now ready to cook the bird. But for how long? Twenty minutes per pound is a good rule of thumb, or until the leg meat reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the chicken is ready, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a minimum of 30 minutes. This is a step that you don’t want to miss. The chicken continues to cook while you’re resting the meat, and all the juices will stay inside to keep it moist.
Carve the chicken and serve with the roasted vegetables, some of the Boursin cheese, and a fresh green salad.
Watch as friends turn into family.
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