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Roast Chicken

This recipe for roast chicken, from chef Shannon Bennett's "My French Vue" cookbook, makes a wonderful Sunday dinner.

  • Servings: 4

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, January Winter 2008


  • 1 whole (3- to 4 1/2-pound) free-range chicken
  • 4 cups olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 fingerling potatoes
  • Herbed Bread Crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 shallots
  • 1 head garlic, broken into cloves
  • 8 baby or 4 regular turnips, scrubbed
  • 8 baby carrots, scrubbed
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 7 tablespoons Madeira wine


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

  2. Remove neck, wishbone, wingtips, and legs (including thigh) from chicken. Return all parts of the chicken to refrigerator, except for legs.

  3. In an ovenproof saucepan, heat olive oil until it reaches 250 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Season legs with salt and pepper; add to oil. Loosely cover saucepan with foil, then cover with lid; transfer to oven and cook until meat begins to fall off bone, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove saucepan from oven and let chicken legs cool completely in oil before transferring saucepan to refrigerator overnight.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  5. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Add salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until potatoes are soft and are easily pierced with a paring knife, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool 5 to 10 minutes before peeling skins.

  6. Meanwhile, place chicken on a cutting board with the neck facing you. Using poultry shears, or a sharp knife, remove the backbone, leaving breast bones intact. Chop backbone, neck, wingtips, and wishbone into 2-inch pieces; transfer to a roasting pan and set aside.

  7. Run fingertips carefully under the skin of the breast, starting at the neck, separating skin from meat. Stuff a large handful of herbed bread crumbs between the meat and the skin to fill completely. Rub butter over skin. Set breasts over bones in roasting pan; season with salt and pepper.

  8. If using regular turnips, cut into quarters and toss together along with potatoes, shallots, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in which the chicken legs were cooked; season well and add to roasting pan. Cover pan tightly with parchment paper-lined foil and roast, basting regularly with pan juices, until chicken is browned and skin is crisp, about 1 hour.

  9. If using baby turnips, toss together along with carrots, thyme, and 2 tablespoons of the chicken leg cooking oil; season with salt and pepper. Add to the roasting pan. Uncover and continue roasting chicken and vegetables until vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

  10. Transfer breasts to a platter and cover loosely with parchment paper-lined aluminum foil; set aside.

  11. In a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, add chicken legs. Season with salt and pepper and cook until skin is crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, before placing under foil with breasts to keep warm.

  12. Transfer vegetables in roasting pan to a plate. Drain any fat from roasting pan and set aside. Place roasting pan, with bones, over medium heat. Add Madeira and let reduce by two-thirds, scraping up any browned bits that have formed in the bottom of the pan. Add 7 tablespoons water, bring to a boil, and let reduce 2 minutes more. Strain into a saucepan; season with salt and pepper. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of reserved fat; do not stir.

  13. Remove breasts from bone and cut into four equal pieces. Cut legs in half. Place chicken in the center of each of four plates. Divide vegetables evenly among the four plates and spoon over sauce; serve immediately.

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