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!

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You will need:
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

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Fully wash and dry the chicken inside and out with paper towel.
  2. 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.
  3. Trim the ends of the wings.
  4. Save or freeze the bones for chicken stock.
  5. Rub soft butter on the inside cavity and exterior of the chicken.
  6. Add salt and pepper.
  7. Take a thin wooden spear and pass through the wing and breast to create a compact form.
  8. Cross the legs of the chicken to make for an even tighter form.
  9. 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.
  10. Add coarsely chopped parsley.
  11. Place the chicken onto the mound of garlic. Ensure all the garlic is covered and under the cavity of the bird.
  12. Adjust for a compact form. Add small dollops of butter over the top of the chicken.
  13. Place in the oven.
  14. After approximately 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350°F and pour 1⁄2 cup of apple cider vinegar over the bird.
  15. Cook for approximately 20 minutes per pound.
  16. After about 15–20 minutes, baste the bird.
  17. When the chicken is fully cooked (do not over cook!), remove from the oven and place onto a dish to rest.
  18. While the chicken is resting, strain off all the juices and garlic from the pan.
  19. Separate the chicken fat from the juices. Set aside.
  20. Take the garlic and press through a sieve and into a dish.
  21. Place the skillet onto a hot stove and melt approximately 1⁄4 cup of butter.
  22. Add the pressed garlic and chicken juices back to the pan.
  23. Add red wine or cognac and reduce at high heat, stirring continuously.
  24. Place the rested bird onto a platter, remove the wooden spear, and garnish with parsley and olives.
  25. Serve the sauce over the bird or on the side. Excellent with a Côtes du Rhône.


We learned this recipe from Chef Henri-Étienne Lévy of La Cuisine Sans Peur in his kitchen on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Photography by Photography by Paul Lowe | Recipe by Bill Hovard

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