Roasting a whole chicken on a rack keeps it out of the pan juices and lets hot air circulate; the bird cooks evenly and the skin gets deliciously crisp. We've discovered that pieces of stale bread can do the job of a rack -- and become crunchy and flavorful in the process. Enjoy them as nibbles before the meal, toss them in a salad as you would croutons, or serve them on the plate alongside the chicken.
Before (image referenced): Leftover bread props up the raw bird.
After (image referenced): Roast chicken with tempting, toasty bread bites.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange 1/2 torn day-old baguette in a roasting pan. Place 1 whole chicken (about 5 pounds) on bread. Cross and tie legs with kitchen twine. Brush chicken with 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter. Stuff 3 or 4 thyme sprigs under skin of each breast half, and season chicken with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Scatter 5 lightly smashed garlic cloves and 4 to 6 thyme sprigs in pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees, about 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes before carving.