Herb-Roasted Chicken



Serves 4
Ingredients:
1 (3- to 3 1/2-pound) whole chicken, patted dry with paper towels
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 bunch of fresh sage leaves (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 medium carrots, peeled and halved crosswise (for whole chicken only), optional
3 celery stalks, cut crosswise into thirds (for whole chicken only), optional
1 large onion, peeled and cut into large chunks (for whole chicken only), optional

Directions:
1. Put the chicken in a large bowl. Add the oil, lemon, and sage; toss well. Cover tightly and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for 24 hours.
2. The next day, let the chicken stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while the oven preheats to 450 degrees.
3. Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with the seasoning. Remove the lemon slices and sage from the marinade and stuff them inside the chicken cavity. Scatter the carrots, celery, and onion, if using, over the bottom of a roasting pan. Pour just enough water into the pan to cover the bottom. Arrange the chicken, breast-side up, on top of the vegetables, if desired, or place the chicken on a roasting rack over the vegetables.


4. Transfer the pan to the center oven rack; roast for 20 minutes. Baste with the pan juices, and continue roasting, basting once or twice, for 25 minutes more (if the chicken is not golden-brown all over at this point, continue to cook for 10 more minutes).
5. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Finish roasting, without basting, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Let the chicken stand for five minutes before carving. Serve with the pan juices and vegetables, if desired.

Variation: To make this recipe with chicken halves:
1. Cut the chicken along each side of the backbone with kitchen shears; remove the bone. Cut the chicken in half along the breastbone and place in a large bowl. Add the oil, lemon, and sage; toss well. Cover tightly and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for 24 hours.
2. The next day, let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while the oven preheats to 450 degrees.
3. Sprinkle the chicken all over with the seasoning. Divide the lemon and sage into two piles in a roasting pan, and place the chicken, skin-side up, on top.


4. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees, about 40 minutes. For extra-crisp, golden skin, broil the chicken for the last few minutes of cooking time. Let the chicken stand for five minutes before carving.
Note: If grilling, preheat a grill to medium-high heat and follow the directions for the chicken halves. Put the chicken on the grill bone-side down and grill for 30 minutes, then flip and grill until the skin is golden-brown and the meat is cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees), about 30 minutes more. Let the chicken stand for five minutes before carving.