I love making roast chicken - the crackly, crunchy skin, the moist meat underneath and the utter ease of it all. To inaugurate my 6.75 quart French oven, I instantly thought of this favorite Sunday dish of mine. Could it work? The answer is a glorious yes! I adjusted the temperature and the cooking times a bit but it turns out I sacrificed neither ease nor flavor by using my Le Creuset instead of a roasting pan. In fact, the meat is so much more moist and tender, which I think is due to the fact that I cooked the chicken while covered for the first hour.
LE CREUSET ROAST CHICKEN
1 1/2 lb of fingerling potatoes
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
4.5 - 5 lbs whole chicken
a bunch of fresh thyme
1 lemon, quartered
4 pats of butter
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Take out the gizzards and rinse and pat dry the chicken.
3. Put all four lemon quarters and 1/2 of the bunch of thyme in the chicken cavity.
4. Place fingerling potatoes and carrots on the bottom of the French oven. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Take 1/2 of the remaining thyme and place some springs on top of the carrots and potatoes.
5. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the chicken and place in the French oven with breast side down.
6. Place pats of butter and the rest of the thyme sprigs on top of the chicken.
7. Cover and place in the preheated oven for 1 hr and 15 minutes. For the first hour, baste the chicken with the juices every 30 minutes.
8. Uncover and put under the broiler for 4 minutes to brown the skin.
9. Turn off the heat and cover the French oven again. Let sit inside the oven for an additional 10 minutes before taking out and carving.