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.
Roast chicken can be served with all your favorite side dishes. Here you see it served with roasted potatoes, one of my favorites, but rice would work just as well. Really depends on what you're in the mood for.