Roasted to perfection and served with rich pan juices and crisp watercress, L’Ami Louis’s roast chicken is bistro food at its best. Patricia Wells included a version of this dish in Bistro Cooking (Workman, 1989) and recommends rubbing the chicken with goose, duck, or chicken fat before roasting it to achieve a golden brown crust.
1 3-4-lb. chicken, liver, gizzard, heart,
and neck reserved
4 tbsp. rendered poultry fat or butter
Kosher salt, to taste
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 bunch watercress, stemmed
1. Heat oven to 425°. Pat chicken dry and smear all over with 1 tbsp. poultry fat. Season skin and cavity with salt and stuff cavity with liver, gizzard, heart, and neck. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Transfer chicken
to a roasting pan. Melt remaining poultry fat. Roast chicken, basting with fat occasionally, until an instant-
read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of a thigh (without touching the bone) reads 160°, about
1 1⁄2 hours.
2. Using paper towels, hold chicken neck side up and pour any juices from cavity into roasting pan. Transfer chicken to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes. Set roasting pan on two burners over high heat. Add butter and 3 tbsp. water to roasting pan and cook, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of pan and stirring often to make a loose sauce, about 5 minutes.
3. To serve, carve chicken into 4 pieces and transfer to a warmed platter. Pour sauce over chicken and arrange watercress around chicken.
Pairing note: With a dish as simple and classic as roast chicken, a wine like this, with a juicy cherry flavor and
hint of spice, like the Domaine Thenard Cellier aux Moines Givry 2007 ($28) from Burgundy, is a great pairing.