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“Basic Cooking” Roast Chicken

  • 1 3-4 lb. chicken*
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 3 stalks celery or 2 leeks or 2 carrots
  • 1 Tbs. flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth, or frozen leftover chicken gravy**

Preheat oven to 425°F. Wash the chicken thoroughly, removing debris & kidneys from cavity. Salt it heavily, and let sit for 5 minutes. Rinse again and dry.

Wash the celery or halve and wash the leeks, trimming away the dark green parts, roots and outer layer, and place it in a roasting pan, forming a “rack” for the chicken.

Season the chicken with salt & freshly ground pepper to taste and lay on one side on top of the celery.

Roast for 15 minutes, turn chicken to the opposite side and roast another 15 minutes; turn breast up, and roast 20 minutes.

Test with an oven thermometer, preferably the instant-read variety, being sure that internal temperature reaches 170° when measured in the thick of the inner thigh, and the juices inside the cavity are no longer rosy pink, but run clear. Remove from the oven, and let sit in a warm place for at least 5 minutes, to let the juices settle. Remove the celery or leeks from the pan, to serve with the chicken.

While the chicken is resting, spoon excess grease from the pan juices and mix in the flour until lump-free, then stir in the broth. Bring to a boil, stirring to release any stuck bits from the pan with a wooden spatula. Turn down the heat and simmer for at least 3-4 minutes. Strain the resulting sauce, degrease again carefully and pass to serve with the chicken.

*For crisper skin, place the chicken on a rack, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours before starting the recipe.

**Cook’s Note: save left-over gravy, packed airtight in a plastic container, and marked, in the freezer. Use next time you make roast chicken instead of broth (add some water)—and continue to save again whatever is left. Just be sure to re-use the whole amount you save, bringing it to a good boil. Your “freezer gravy” will become a family treasure, rich in flavor and incredibly useful!