Classic Roast Chicken with Herb Sauce & A Salad of Bitter Greens
Adapted from Fine Cooking’s May 1998 Issue
Roast chicken is one of those perfect meals that’s good anytime of the year. Add some roasted potatoes and fresh seasonal vegetables and you have a meal fit for the fussiest eater. This recipe was adapted from an old copy of Fine Cooking, one of my favorite cooking magazines published.
I love the idea of taking some of the pan drippings to make a dressing for the mixed greens salad and then using the fond for making a pan sauce.
Look at this recipe as a guide only. You can change the herbs depending on what’s on hand or create your own special blend of flavors.
Roasting a chicken isn’t as easy as buying one in the supermarket and let’s face it, there are times when we just don’t feel like cooking and grab one off the deli counter but roasting your own bird gives you a lot of flexibility on seasonings. Besides, if you are going to roast potatoes to go with the chicken, why not just roast the two together.
Heck, why not roast two whole chickens and use one for another meal later in the week. And be sure to save all the roasted bones for making some homemade chicken soup.
Roast Chicken with Herb Sauce
- 4 pound chicken roaster
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- ½ teaspoon salt coarse
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
For the Salad
- 1 tablespoon shallot minced
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mustard Dijon style
- 3 tablespoons rendered fat from the roast chicken
- 2 cups mixed greens washed and dried
For the Sauce
- ¼ cup cognac or brandy
- 3½ cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs minced
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream optional
- Heat the oven to 450°F.
- Remove the giblets from the chicken's cavity (save for a stock if you like - but don't include the liver, which would make the stock bitter).Pull any loose fat from around the opening.
- Rinse the bird inside and out and pat dry.
- Rub the chicken all over with the softened butter, gently pursing the butter under the breast skin.If you're having difficulty getting your hand under the skin, you can try using a wooden spoon to get it started.
- Sprinkle the outside and the cavity with the salt and pepper and stuff the herb sprigs inside.
- Put the chicken, breast side up, on a V-shaped rack or a flat rack and set the rack in a roasting pan just larger than the rack. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 375°F, and continue roasting for an additional 45 min. for a total of about 1 hour for a 3 lb. chicken.
- For larger birds, add another 10 minutes for each additional pound until the chicken is done.
- Set the chicken on a warm platter, propping up the hindquarters with an inverted saucer, and tent with foil to keep it warm while you make the sauce.
Preparing the Sauce
- Remove the rack from the pan.
- Make the sauce from the pan drippings by tilting the pan and spooning off as much fat as possible. Discard the fat, reserving 3 tablespoons for the salad dressing. Set the pan over high heat to caramelize all the juices, but be careful not to let them burn.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine, cognac, or sherry, scrapping up all the drippings.
- Boil until the liquid is just a syrupy glaze, add about 1½ cups of the chicken stock, and boil it down to a sputtering, bubbling glaze.
- Repeat with another 1½ cups of chicken stock, boiling down until it's reduced to about ⅔ cups sauce.
- Add any herbs or cream, taste, and adjust the seasoning.
Preparing the Salad Dressing
- To make the salad dressing, whisk together the shallot, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl.
- Whisk in 3 tablespoons of the warm chicken fat, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss with the greens and serve immediately without the carved chicken, drizzled with some sauce.