Oven-Roasted Chicken with Natural Jus


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • yield:



Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

In kitchens with professional-quality stoves and hot ovens, it is rarely necessary to brown the chicken on top of the stove before roasting. However, the smaller the bird being roasted, the more likely will be the necessity for prebrowning; by the time a quail browns in the oven, it will have dried out and overcooked. Chicken can go either way. The oven should be piping-hot so as to brown the chicken before it ends up completely cooked. If the oven isn’t hot enough, the chicken should be browned on the stove before roasting.

Older recipes suggest covering the breast of a roast chicken with a sheet of fatback (barding) for the first stage of roasting so the thighs and breasts will be done at the same time. This is still a good idea but a bit of a nuisance when sheets of fatback are not on hand. An easy alternative is to double up a small sheet of aluminum foil and place it over the breast, leaving the thighs exposed, while the chicken is roasting. The foil is removed at least 30 minutes before the end of roasting to allow the breast to brown.


chicken, 1 3 to 4 lb 1.5 to 2 kg
onion, quartered 1 1
carrots, peeled, cut into 3-inch (7-cm) lengths 2 2
enough meat trimmings or chicken bones to cover roasting pan (optional)
chicken stock (brown chicken stock or white chicken stock) or water 2 cups 500 ml
salt and pepper to taste to taste


  1. Remove the giblets from the chicken. Truss the chicken with string.
  2. Spread the meat trimmings or chicken bones in a single layer in a roasting pan that fits the chicken. It’s important that none of the roasting pan is exposed. Place the chicken in the roasting pan, breast side up. Cover the breasts with folded sheets of aluminum foil. (A)

    Surround the chicken with its giblets, except the liver, which may give the jus a strong taste. Roast for 30 minutes.

  3. Remove the foil and roast for 15 to 20 minutes more, until the juices from a thigh run clear when it is poked with a trussing needle or sauté fork. (B)

  4. Transfer the chicken to a plate or platter. Lift it out of the roasting pan in such a way that any juices contained in the cavity run out into the pan.
  5. Heat the roasting pan on the stovetop until the juices caramelize on the bottom of the pan and the fat separates. Do not stir. (C)

  6. Remove the fat from the roasting pan with a ladle, or pour it off. (D, E)

  7. Add 1 cup (250 milliliters) of stock or water to the roasting pan and reduce until the stock caramelizes. (F)

  8. Add the remaining stock. Gently heat the stock, while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until all the caramelized juices dissolve in the stock. (G)

  9. Strain the jus through a fine chinois. (H)

  10. Season with salt and pepper. While not necessary, the jus can then be thickened and flavored in a variety of ways, as described earlier in this chapter.