For my birthday last year, one of the things my husband got me was Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I am disappointed in myself to report that this is the first and only recipe I have tried from it in almost a year. In my defense, I thought about it several times but every time I considered it I decided I didn't want to spend 6 hrs in the kitchen cooking. Finally, I broke down. Unfortunately, I didn't follow the traditional wisdom to add one hour to your calculation of however long you think you will spend cooking whenever you make a Julia Child recipe, and we ended up eating dinner at about 9 pm. However....
This was the best roasted chicken I have ever eaten. I'm not exaggerating.
Recipe by Julia Child, adapted slightly
Cook & Prep Time - The recipe said 1 hr, 10 minutes, but it took me at least 3 hrs from start to finish
1 (3-4 lb) chicken
1 onion, quartered, and one small onion, diced
1-2 ribs celery, chopped into thick pieces
1 carrot, chopped into thick pieces
salt & pepper
1 cup chicken stock
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Melt butter (about 1/2 stick)
Rinse the chicken and dry thoroughly. Rub butter on the inside cavity and season with salt & pepper. Tie up the legs with kitchen twine and then rub butter all over the chicken. Season very lightly with salt & pepper.
Place the chicken breast-side up on a roasting rack.
Put the onion, celery, and carrot scattered about in the roasting pan.
Roast the chicken for 15 minutes total at 425 degrees F. After 5 minutes, turn it onto the left side and basted with butter. After 5 minutes there, turn it onto the right side and baste with butter. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Baste the chicken with melted butter. Leave the chicken on its right side and roast the chicken for 10 more minutes and then baste again.
About halfway through the estimated roasting time, salt the chicken and turn it on its other side. Baste.
About 15 min before the bird is done, salt again and turn the chicken breast-side up. Salt that side and baste.
Continue this process until the juices run clear, or about 1 hr and 10 minutes of total cooking time. Use the fat from the roasting pan or melt more butter when you run out of the original butter you melted.
To make the sauce, remove the chicken from the roast pan and put on the stove top. Remove all but 2 TBSP of fat from the pan. Stir in the diced onion and cook for about 1 minute. Add the stock and boil rapidly over high heat, scraping up the brown bits. Let reduce by about 1/2. Season with salt & pepper. Turn off the heat ad just before serving, swirl in about 1-2 TBSP of butter.
Carve the chicken and pour a spoonful of sauce over each piece.