Grant Achatz's favorite comfort food is a simple roasted chicken. To give the bird extra flavor, he rubs garlicky butter under the breast skin and packs the cavity with more garlic, plus thyme sprigs and lemon quarters. After the chicken is cooked, he uses the juices to make an intensely flavored sauce that's delicious with the bird and the hearty pierogies that go with it.
More Roast Chicken Recipes
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
6 garlic cloves—2 minced, 4 crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped thyme, plus 2 thyme sprigs
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small bowl, blend the butter with the minced garlic and chopped thyme and season with salt and pepper. Carefully loosen the breast skin of the chicken. Spread the butter evenly over the breast meat then smooth out the skin. Rub any extra garlic-thyme butter all over the outside of the chicken.
Stuff the crushed garlic, thyme sprigs and lemon quarters into the cavity and tie the legs together with twine. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and set it in a small, flameproof roasting pan. Roast for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when an inner thigh is pierced. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes.
Pour the pan juices into a small saucepan. Add the water to the roasting pan and bring to a boil over moderately high heat; scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 2 minutes, then pour the liquid into the saucepan. Season the jus with salt and pepper and keep hot. Carve the chicken and serve with the jus and Mustardy Potato Pierogies.
The herbal, lemony flavors here call for an elegant, earthy wine like a Syrah-based Côte-Rôtie from the northern Rhône.
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