This is my favorite kind of recipe – super simple and extraordinarily delicious. The basic idea is to brown a whole chicken in a Dutch oven and then finish it off in the oven at low heat. This cooking method allows for the chicken to simmer in its own juices. The cooking times in the recipe are for a 4½ – to 5-pound bird. A 3½ – to 4½-pound chicken will take about an hour to cook, and a 5- to 6-pound bird will take close to 2 hours.
This is my favorite kind of recipe – super simple and extraordinarily delicious.
It is best to use a 5- to 8-quart Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. If using a 5-quart pot, do not cook a chicken larger than 5 pounds. Use the best chicken you can find, such as a free range, organic or locally pastured chicken. The amount of jus (remaining pan juices) will vary depending on the size of the chicken; season it with about ¼ teaspoon lemon juice for every ¼ cup jus. Thank you to Cook’s Illustrated for inspiring this recipe.
- 1 whole roasting chicken (4½ to 5 pounds), giblets removed, wings tucked in
- 2 teaspoons good salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black or white pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter, coconut oil, ghee, palm oil, lard, chicken fat or duck fat
- 1 small onion , rough chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 small stalk celery , rough chopped (about ¼ cup)
- 6 medium garlic cloves, skin removed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
- ½ – 1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon
- Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250 degrees.
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper (this is a very essential step for proper browning).
- Heat fat of choice in large Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking.
- Add chicken breast-side down; scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary around chicken.
- Cook until breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Using a wooden spoon inserted into cavity of bird, flip chicken breast-side up and cook until chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Remove Dutch oven from heat; place large sheet of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid.
- Transfer pot to oven and cook until instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, 80 to 110 minutes.
- Transfer chicken to carving board, tent with foil, and rest 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, strain chicken juices from pot through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator, pressing on solids to extract liquid; discard solids (you should have about ¾ cup juices).
- Allow liquid to settle 5 minutes, then pour into saucepan and set over low heat.
- Carve chicken, adding any accumulated juices to saucepan.
- Stir lemon juice into jus to taste. Serve chicken, passing jus at table.