There's nothing like a roasted chicken Sunday dinner. This recipe is so easy, but it does require a bit of planning ahead. The chicken needs to brine for 5 hours and then sit in the fridge and crisp for at least 4 hours.
4 quarts water and / or apple juice
6 T. kosher salt
2 T. granulated sugar
1/2 large onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
Other leftover veggies and bits
1/2 head garlic
Fresh or dried herbs of your choice
Chicken and Gravy Ingredients:
1 whole chicken
Tarragon or oregano
1/2 stick butter
2 springs rosemary
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
4 T. flour
1 cup apple juice or cidar
Combine all of the ingredients for the brine in a large container. Add the chicken and let it brine in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours.
Remove the chicken from the brine and pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels. Combine the herbs, and butter in a small bowl. Season, to taste, with salt. Work the butter under the skin of the chicken and massage it into the breasts and the legs. Massage the butter on the outside of the skin as well.
Put the peach, leek, and rosemary in a roasting pan and season with salt. Arrange the chicken on top of the veggies and refrigerate uncovered for at least 4 hours. This will help the skin dry out and become really brown and crispy. After refrigerating, the chicken is ready to go in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put the wine and chicken stock in the bottom of the roasting pan. Slather a bit of olive oil on the chicken -- like putting suntain oil on a 70s beach babe. Roast the chicken in the preheated oven until the skin gets really nice and brown, about 30 minutes. Lower the oven heat to 350 degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. Baste the chicken every 20 minutes or so. Cook about 12 minutes per pound. Once it gets to the proper color, tent the chicken with aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too dark.
Remove the chicken from the oven when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken registers 160 degrees F. When the chicken has reached the proper temperature, remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
While the chicken is resting, make the gravy. Strain all the veggies over a bowl to separate them from the stock/mixture. Discard the veggies. Skim off the fat and add it to the roasting pan. This is the fat for the roux. Put the roasting pan over 2 burners and over a low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook until the mixture looks like wet sand, about 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the pan juices and the apple juice/cidar. Cook until the mixture has thickened and reached a gravy consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into a serving pitcher or bowl.
Here's link that shows how to carve a chicken: http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to-carve-roast-chicken.aspx