Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa fame is known for her simple yet timeless recipes and for helping home cooks all across the country to become more comfortable in their own kitchens.
This timeless roast chicken from her new cookbook is a comforting preparation that any novice cook can master. Served over baby arugula and pieces of toasted bread that soak up all those delicious chicken juices, it's a homey dish that Jeffrey would no doubt approve of.
Roast Chicken with Bread and Arugula Salad
Recipe adapted from "Make It Ahead," by Ina Garten
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus chilling and resting time
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes, plus chilling and resting time
For the Chicken:
One 4 to 4½ pound whole chicken
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 lemon, quartered
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Country bread, sliced 3-4¾-inch-thick
For the Arugula Salad:
¼ cup Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup scallion, white and green parts, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dried currants
6 cups baby arugula, light packed
1. Make the chicken: Place the chicken on clean work surface. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel. Using your finger, gently loosen the skin from the breast and thighs. Carefully slip the thyme and garlic underneath the skin and place the lemon in the cavity of the chicken. Using kitchen twine, tie the legs together and tuck the wings underneath. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap the chicken in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 500°. Remove the chicken an hour before roasting to take the chill off. Place the bread slices on the bottom of a large cast-iron skillet. Rub the chicken with the olive oil and place the bird on top of the bread, breast side up. Roast for 30 minutes, then flip over and roast for an additional 15 minutes, until the juices run clear between the leg and the thigh. Remove the chicken and wrap tight with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make the arugula salad: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, while stirring, drizzle in the olive oil. Add the scallions and currants and set aside.
4. To serve, carve the chicken into 8 pieces and tear the bread into bite-size pieces. Place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Transfer the salad, bread and chicken to a large platter and serve warm.