Recipe: Roast Chicken

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Adapted from Julia Child's recipe for poulet roti in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

    • One whole 3-pound chicken
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with the salt, then smear in half the butter.

Truss the chicken. I find this method for tying the chicken together difficult--though not impossible--to master. I consult Chow's how-to video on trussing whenever I forget how to do it.

Dry the chicken thoroughly, then rub the skin with the rest of the butter.

Place the chicken breast up in a roasting pan. After five minutes, turn the chicken on its side so the right leg is facing up. Five minutes later, turn the chicken on its other side so the right leg is facing up. Baste the bird after each turn.

Five minutes later, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Leave the chicken on its side. After a total of 40 minutes of cooking time (25 minutes after reducing the heat to 350 degrees), turn the chicken onto its other side, so the left leg is facing up. Baste.

25 minutes later, turn the chicken breast up. Baste.

15 minutes later, after a total of an hour and 20 minutes of cooking, check chicken to see if it is done by piercing the thickest part of the drumstick with a fork. If the juices run clear, it is ready.

If not, cook for another 5 minutes and test again.

When done, remove the trussing strings and set on a platter. Let the bird sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before carving to preserve its juiciness.

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Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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