Roasting a perfect chicken is a never ending quest. Even many chefs, when testing new candidates for a cooking job give them this task to. As a home cook, it seems like I've made thousands. For a while there I had to get food out so quickly to the hungry hoards that I'd spatch cock the bird (remove the backbone)--otherwise known as Flat Roasted chicken in the Mad Hungry cookbook (a recipe many folks have been making too, I hear).
It cuts the cooking time by 20 minutes. Meanwhile, what makes this chicken here so amazing is the bread that is used as its cooking platform. About five pieces of day old whole wheat bread are gathered together, salted, peppered and olive oiled to form a raft for the chicken. As the bird roasts, the bread soaks up the chicken juices making it sort of soft in the middle but also crunchy around the edges. It is one of my most favorite guilty eating pleasures. The 3-pound bird was stuffed with a quartered lemon, seasoned and cooked at 425 for 55 minutes. For a side, oven roasted organic French new potatoes (share the same oven)--beautifully colored and tasting like the essence of potato. They were expensive at the farmers market but worth it. And, if I had a big garden, I'd grow them. On the plate I also served a plop of fresh made pepper jelly; a spicy sweet accent for the salty savory chicken. Nothing more but a fresh green salad made this basic, simple meal memorable.