- Two 3-pound chickens, preferably free range
- 24 fresh bay leaves, bruised, plus bay branches, for garnish
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450°. Bend back the chicken wing tips and tuck them under their first joints. Using your fingertips, carefully loosen the chicken skin without tearing it, working your hand under the skin all the way up the breast and down into the thighs.
- Tuck 2 bay leaves in the cavity of each bird. Tuck the remaining leaves under the loosened skin: 2 on each thigh and 3 on each side of each breast. Distribute the garlic evenly under the skin. Tie the legs together with string.
- Set the chickens in a large, shallow roasting pan. Rub them all over with the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chickens for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the chickens are browned and the juices run clear; rotate the pan halfway through.
- Remove the chickens from the oven and let stand in a warm place for 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the bay branches. Remove and discard the bay leaves from under the skin before carving the chickens.
A medium-bodied red, like Chianti, is the best match for this aromatic chicken.