Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock’s Roast Chicken

Edna Lewis says in her cookbook that “people make the mistake of cooking the chicken in a moderate oven when they should cook it in a very hot one, which makes the outside skin very crisp and the meat moist and delicious. It is simple and really makes a difference. Equally important is to serve the chicken right away. Do not let it sit on the counter after taking it from the oven or the texture of the skin and the meat will not be as good. You should season the chicken about an hour before roasting it to give the flavors time to blend. I use nothing more than butter, salt and pepper and dried thyme, which I prefer to fresh. Fresh thyme tastes weak to me.”

The only change I would make to this recipe is to brine the chicken first before roasting, it gives the chicken a better flavor.

How to Brine the Chicken

Stir kosher salt into cold water until dissolved, in the proportion of 1/4 cup salt to 1 quart of water. (Don’t use table salt in this formula, by the way; it will be too salty.) Mix enough brine to cover the poultry completely in a (nonreactive) bowl or pot. Store refrigerated for 8 to 24 hours (after 24 hours, the chicken will become too salty).

Roast Chicken Recipe

1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
One 3 lb chicken
3 TB butter, softened
3 TB water

Mix together thoroughly the salt, pepper, Herbs de Provence and thyme.
Wash the chicken after brining and dry it inside and out.
Using as spatula, butter the inside of the chicken and sprinkle half of the spice mixture into the cavity.
Tie the legs securely to keep the chicken closed up.
Rub the rest of the butter over the outside of the chicken and rub the herb mixture over it.
Let the chicken sit at room temperature for an hour or so before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees .
Place the chicken the chicken on a wire rack, in a roasting pan and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
Remove the chicken to a warm platter.
Spoon off all but 1 tsp of the fat from the roasting pan and add the water.
Heat scraping the bottom of the pan.
Serve this pan juice with the chicken.
Have the rest of the meal ready when the bird is cooked,
so it does not stand for more than a few minutes after it taken from the oven.