perfect roast chicken

If you're looking to impress someone with your cooking skills, this recipe from Barefoot Contessa will do the trick. 

My roomates' friend Elizabeth, who I am now happy to call my friend as well, came over last night and made us this perfect roast chicken.  And by perfect, I do mean perfect in every sense of the word.  The chicken was juicy and tender, and the vegetables added a punch of flavor that was essentially indescribable.
image via my madison bistro
- 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
- salt and pepper
-1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
-1 lemon, halved
-1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
-2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
-1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
-4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
-1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
-olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 425.

2. Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.  Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken (full disclosure: we had no kitchen string in our house, so we had to use dental floss--don't worry, it wasn't the mint kind). Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme (removing the thyme from the sprigs), and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

3. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh (note: Elizabeth also suggests shaking the chicken's hand--if it cooperates, it's most likely done, if it's stiff then it needs more time). Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

I'm hoping to try it out on my own sometime soon...I'll be sure to report back because I can only imagine how that experience will go. But I am making it my mission to put this bad boy on my kitchen table one day in perfect condition. And my future children better love it, or else.

Bon appetit!

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