My friend Bill Hovard learned this recipe from Chef Henri-Étienne Lévy of La Cuisine Sans Peur in his kitchen on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Bill tells me that it always makes for a savory and succulent roast chicken with just the right level of acidity and full chicken flavor!
1 whole chicken (preferably pasture raised and freshly butchered)
4 full heads garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons soft butter
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
1⁄4 cup butter
flat leaf parsley, for garnish
red wine or cognac
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Fully wash and dry the chicken inside and out with paper towel.
- Place the chicken on a cutting board breast-side down. Working from the cavity opening up to the neck, cut down each side of the back bone with a pair of kitchen shears.
- Trim the ends of the wings.
- Save or freeze the bones for chicken stock.
- Rub soft butter on the inside cavity and exterior of the chicken.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Take a thin wooden spear and pass through the wing and breast to create a compact form.
- Cross the legs of the chicken to make for an even tighter form.
- In a buttered and heavy cast iron pan, place the garlic into a mound in the center of the pan. No need to peel the garlic cloves.
- Add coarsely chopped parsley.
- Place the chicken onto the mound of garlic. Ensure all the garlic is covered and under the cavity of the bird.
- Adjust for a compact form. Add small dollops of butter over the top of the chicken.
- Place in the oven.
- After approximately 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350°F and pour 1⁄2 cup of apple cider vinegar over the bird.
- Cook for approximately 20 minutes per pound.
- After about 15–20 minutes, baste the bird.
- When the chicken is fully cooked (do not over cook!), remove from the oven and place onto a dish to rest.
- While the chicken is resting, strain off all the juices and garlic from the pan.
- Separate the chicken fat from the juices. Set aside.
- Take the garlic and press through a sieve and into a dish.
- Place the skillet onto a hot stove and melt approximately 1⁄4 cup of butter.
- Add the pressed garlic and chicken juices back to the pan.
- Add red wine or cognac and reduce at high heat, stirring continuously.
- Place the rested bird onto a platter, remove the wooden spear, and garnish with parsley and olives.
- Serve the sauce over the bird or on the side. Excellent with a Côtes du Rhône.
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