Sous-chef Michael Hanratty says this roasted chicken is a guaranteed date-pleaser: "It seems like a lot more work than it really is, and when you put a whole bird in front of someone, they automatically think you've spent your whole day on it." For the stuffing, stay away from pumpernickel or other dense bread.
Servings: 2 generous servings, plus leftovers
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 small onion, diced (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 fennel bulb, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 pound stale bread, cut into bite-size cubes
- 2 teaspoons dried lavender or sage
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 lime, zest only
- 1 orange, both zest and juice
- 3/4 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 whole (48 ounces) chicken
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Have ready a roasting pan with a wire-rack insert.
In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 2 minutes, without letting them brown. Add the fennel and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a large bowl. Add the bread, 1 teaspoon of the lavender or sage, 1/2 tablespoon of the thyme leaves, the zest, juice, stock or broth and egg. Gently mix and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool thoroughly.
Wash the chicken thoroughly and pat it dry with paper towels. Season the bird inside and out with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the stuffing mixture into the bird. (Excess stuffing can be baked in a casserole dish during the last 45 minutes the chicken is roasting.) Rub the remaining 1 teaspoon lavender or sage and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon thyme evenly over the skin. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and cook for about 45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh meat registers 165 degrees and the stuffing in the bird is--5 degrees. Transfer to a cutting board.
Remove the stuffing and place in a serving dish. Let the chicken rest, loosely covered, for 5 to 10 minutes. To serve, carve and arrange over the stuffing.
Adapted from Mie N Yu sous-chef Michael Hanratty.
Tested by Pam Kendrick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.