Let's Roast a Chicken

Are people still roasting chickens out there?  With the large variety of rotisserie chickens you can purchase these days, often for less money than you can buy an uncooked chicken, I was wondering if the home roasted chicken was coming close to extinction.  I hope not.  As much as those rotisserie chickens can be very delicious and ever so convenient, there is still nothing like a good home roasted chicken.  

One 3 1/2 lb organic chicken
1 small lemon, sliced
1/2 small onion, quartered
6-8 fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper

Rinse and clean the chicken well.  Remove excess fat from inside of the chicken and cut tail off.   Tuck the wing tips underneath the wing.  Salt and pepper the cavity of the chicken and stuff it with the lemon, onion and sage.  Truss the chicken.
Trussing the chicken makes for more even cooking.  Years ago, I thought trussing was merely tying the legs together.  Not so.  The legs should be pulled back so they are tucked close against the sides of the breast.  As the breast generally cooks faster than the leg and thigh area, this helps to protect the breast and slow its cooking time, thereby allowing everything to cook more evenly.  
You will need a long trussing needle and some kitchen string.  Start by piercing the wing on right side of the chicken and pushing the needle all the way through the cavity of the chicken, then out the other side and again through the left wing wing.  Then adjust the string making sure it is equal lengths on both sides of the chicken.  Bring the string from the left side underneath the drumstick and with the trussing needle, sew the skin around the opening of the cavity together.  Remove the needle and pull the string to the right side and hook it under the tip of the right drumstick.  Bring the string from the right side and slide it underneath the drumstick and cross it over to the left side hooking it underneath the tip of the left drumstick.  Can you tell this is hard to explain without pictures?  Basically, you are criss crossing the string underneath drumsticks and then tying them together.  You want the chicken to be a tight ball.
Sprinkle outside with salt and pepper.  Heat oven to 400f.
Roast the chicken on a rack, breast side down first for 15 minutes.  Then flip the chicken over and roast the remaining hour, or until the liquid from the thigh, when pierced with a fork, comes out clear.  Do not baste the chicken, unless you don't care about crispy skin.  Basting will result in soft skin.  The fat that renders from the skin as it cooks is self basting.
No roasted chicken in the Emerton house arrives at the table without a gravy.  So, remove the chicken from the rack onto a cutting board to rest before carving.  In the pan, add 2 tbsp flour and set over the stove on medium and cook the flour until golden.  Deglaze with 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock.  Transfer liquid to a small sauce pan and let boil while whisking the gravy to get any lumps out.  Roasted chicken... can't go wrong.


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