Every cook needs to have a roast chicken recipe in their pocket. This one is my go-to recipe I’ve made for years. Serve this roast chicken with steamed asparagus, simple rice pilaf (zest some lemon into it), and sautéed fresh radishes. Do NOT use an expensive champagne to cook with (but it still should be good enough to drink). Save the Veuve Cliquot for toasting!
Champagne-Herb Roast Chicken
- 5# whole chicken
- 1-2C champagne
- 1 large lemon, halved
- 3T butter
- 1T herbes de Provence (mixture of thyme, basil, fennel, marjoram, and lavender)
- 1/2t sea salt
- about 2T EVOO for the pan
In a small pan, melt the butter with the herbes and salt. Do not let it burn and turn into brown butter. Take the melted butter and herbes off the stove and put it aside while you prepare the chicken.
Swirl the EVOO on the bottom of the roasting pan; you should have a nice coating for the chicken to rest on. Place the chicken in a roasting pan, breast side up. Stuff the two lemons into the cavity. If the lemons are small you can add another half. Pour the champagne over the chicken. Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter and herbes de Provence all over the chicken.
Put the chicken on the highest possible rack because it’s the hottest place and it will foster the formation of that crispy, golden skin. Roast the chicken at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes – long enough for a nice golden skin to become apparent. Note: I use the convection fan to help me with this. After 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 375 degrees and continue roasting the chicken, basting occasionally, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees. A chicken takes approximately 20 minutes a pound. Don’t forget to baste the chicken often; you will be richly rewarded in the form of a deliciously decadent crispy skin. Once the chicken has reached the right temperature, take it out of the oven, marvel at your beautiful chicken, and then let it rest for 10 minutes (tented in foil) while you prepare the side dishes.
Hint: Letting the chicken rest will keep all the delicious juices inside the meat rather than spilling out with your first cuts. Good luck, though. I usually have to slice a small piece off to “test” it.