When I set off on one of my eating trips, the meal I look forward to the most has nothing to do with my favorite restaurants in Basel Barcelona, or wherever. The meal I look forward to the most is the dinner that my wife inevitably cooks for me the night I get home. It is always the same—chicken roasted with carrots, shallots, garlic, and potatoes—and it is always superb. It is also, incidentally, a dish that can rest in the oven for an hour or two after cooking (which comes in handy if my plane is late or the Customs hall at LAX is even more of a bordel than usual).
Place rosemary sprigs in cavity of chicken. With fingers, separate breast skin from breasts and push minced garlic under skin, spreading it around as evenly as possible. Rub surface of chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle with herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. Squeeze lemon juice over top of chicken.
Lightly oil a lidded cast iron or other metal roasting pan just large enough to hold the chicken with an inch or so of space around the edges. Distribute potatoes, carrots, and shallots around the roasting pan, then place chicken, skin side up, on top of them.
Turn off the oven, cover roasting pan tightly, and let chicken sit in the oven for at least ½ hour, but for as long as 2 hours if necessary.†
© 1992 Colman Andrews. All rights reserved.