E3: Roast Chicken with Laurel

“A Stand-Up Chicken”

November 12 | Nyack, New York

Today I am joining Laurel Brandstetter in her kitchen in Nyack, NY. It’s a busy place that is home to her 18-month-old daughter, magician husband, and her global accessories brand, Mar Y Sol, which she runs from her third floor. Laurel wants to learn how to roast a chicken, despite being squeamish about having to deal with the honesty of a whole, raw bird. But it is that good feeling that comes from serving up a well-roasted chicken that inspired her to move past that and embrace the challenge. Listen in.


Roast Chicken with Onion Pan Gravy      

Serves 4

One 3 ½ – 4-pound chicken

½ lemon, cut in half

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Pepper mill

1 large onion, peeled and thickly sliced

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1/3 cup Madeira, Marsala, sherry, or white wine

1 cup chicken broth

  1. Remove and discard the packets of giblets from the cavity (or save if your lifestyle includes enjoying giblets; reserve the neck if you plan to make chicken broth). Carefully rinse the cavity (not the skin!) with cold running water in an empty sink or in a large bowl, to reduce the spread of raw chicken juices. Stand the chicken up on a vertical rack or empty can set inside a large, ovenproof skillet. Tuck the lemon halves in the neck cavity, squeezing gently to release some juice. Let the chicken remain at room temperature for as long as it takes to preheat the oven, or up to 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the salt and 2-3 grindings of black pepper. Using a pastry brush, brush the seasoned butter all over the chicken until thoroughly coated. Brush the remaining butter on the bottom of the skillet. Toss the sliced onions and thyme sprigs under the chicken, and transfer to the oven.
  3. Roast the chicken until the skin is deep golden-brown and crisp, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°, about 50 to 60 minutes. (Depending on the heat source in your oven, you may benefit from turning the skillet 45 or 90 degrees every 20 minutes, for the most even crisping.)
  4. Using tongs, remove the chicken from the rack or can, and allow to rest on a welled cutting board for 10 minutes before carving.
  5. Meanwhile, make the onion pan gravy: Transfer the skillet to medium-high heat (with a kitchen towel wrapped around the handle so you remember it is still very hot). Add the wine and scrape up the browned onions off the bottom of the pan; cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and continue cooking until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Season with salt, as needed, and pour in any accumulated juices from the resting chicken.
  6. Carve, and serve the warm onion gravy on the side.