3.6.10 Playing Chicken
Scarborough Fair Chicken with Shallot Gravy
- — 1 4-lb free-range red cockerel, or other well-bred roaster, at room temp
- — 1 dozen shallots
- — 2 tablespoons olive oil
- — 2 lemons, quartered (regular or Meyer)
- — 2 sprigs each parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme
- — 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- — 1 tablespoon each parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme, finely minced
- — finely grated zest from 1 lemon (regular or Meyer)
- — 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- — 1/2 cup dry white wine
- — few pinches pimentón
- — 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- — light cream, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Wash chicken and dry it very thoroughly, then leave it uncovered in a cool, drafty spot as you prepare the other ingredients.
Peel the shallots and cut them in half. Toss with the olive oil and a teaspoon of sea salt and line the bottom of a roasting pan with them. (Pan should be only slightly larger than the chicken.)
In a small bowl, combine the minced herbs, lemon zest and butter and mix well.
Rub the chicken cavity with salt, then stuff it with the lemons, herb sprigs and garlic. Carefully separate the skin from the chicken’s breasts and thighs and smear a thin layer of the herb butter underneath the skin, covering as much surface area as possible. Generously salt the exterior of the chicken and truss it (or at least tuck the wings under).
Pour the wine over the bed of shallots, and set the chicken comfortably on top. Sprinkle the breast area with a few pinches of pimentón. Roast for about 75 minutes, basting with pan juices once or twice.
Remove the chicken from the oven, take it out of the pan and let it rest on a platter for 15 minutes so the juices can settle.
Meanwhile, pour the shallots and any pan juices into a food processor and make a smooth puree. Add the sherry, and salt and pepper to taste. If the gravy needs thinning, stir in a little chicken stock, any remaining juices from the chicken, some light cream or water.
Carve the chicken and pass the shallot gravy on the side.