Roast Chicken with Butter, Herbs, and Garlic

Roast Chicken with Butter, Herbs, and Garlic

Serves 4-6

1 large chicken (about 4 pounds)

4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 large clove of garlic, put through a garlic press

2 thin slices of Prosciutto, finely minced

Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

1 large carrot, cut in ½-inch slices

1 large onion, peeled and cut in ½-inch dice

1-1/4 cup dry white wine

The night before you plan to serve the chicken, cut out the backbone of the chicken using good kitchen shears or a big chef’s knife.  Rinse the chicken in the sink under cold water, and pat it dry with paper towels.  Set the chicken on a large cutting board, skin side up, and press down on the breastbone to flatten it.  Have a platter or a roasting pan big enough to hold the chicken ready nearby.

In a medium bowl, mash the soft butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the rosemary, thyme, garlic, Prosciutto, one teaspoon of salt, and a half teaspoon of pepper.  Starting at the neck end, gently loosen the skin from the breast meat using your fingers or the handle of a wooden spoon.  Continue down the chicken to loosen the skin on the thighs, and even the legs if you can reach them.  With your hands, rub the butter mixture under the skin onto the meat, spreading the butter as evenly as possible.  Carefully lift the chicken and put it skin-side up on the platter or in the roasting pan.  Wash your hands, then set the platter in the refrigerator, uncovered, making sure the chicken doesn’t touch anything around it.

The next day when you’re ready to roast, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Take the chicken out and put it in the roasting pan if it’s not there already.  Let it sit while the oven preheats.  Scatter the carrot and onion around the bird.  Pour a cup of the white wine over the vegetables, then sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  Pour a little olive oil on the bird, and spread it using your hands or a pastry brush.  Sprinkle the bird with salt and pepper, then roast it for an hour or perhaps a little more.  The internal temperature of the thigh should be about 175 degrees F.  Take the chicken out of the oven and remove it to a carving board.  Let it rest, uncovered for 10 minutes.  Pour the remaining ¼ cup of wine into the roasting pan, and scrape up anything stuck to the bottom.  You can now remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon, or mash up some of them into the liquid.  Taste the liquid for salt and pepper.

Cut the chicken up into serving pieces, and serve with the sauce.

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