Select a medium size chicken, preferably free-range and organically and humanely raised. The gaminess of a free-ranged bird adds to the depth of the flavor in the final plating. Request all the innards and the neck from your butcher.
A selection of fingerling potatoes, new potatoes, small round potatoes; all multi-colored. Select enough potatoes to fill the bottom of your baking dish. The bird will rest on these while baking.
A dozen medium size shallots, peeled.
2 Lg. purple onions, peeled and quartered.
If available, 4 Meyer lemons peeled. You might also want to have a couple of lemons quartered, on hand for adding to the dish.
2 cups of chicken stock or chicken broth.
A bottle of red wine, usually a Merlot.
A large bundle of fresh rosemary.
A large bundle of sage and a bundle of thyme.
Olive oil. In the past I have used rosemary infused olive oil. I prefer a very savory palate.
Fresh cracked black pepper.
Coarse sea salt.
Preparation and Cooking:
Preheat your oven to 375', and lower the temperature to 350' when you put the bird in the oven to begin cooking. The bird will take about 1.5 hours to 2 hours depending on the chicken's weight and the specifics of your individual oven. At home I cook in a 1930s gas Chambers Oven. A meat thermometer is your friend.
Rinse your potatoes and lightly rub with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Place in the bottom of your baking dish. I use a 12" wide x 3"deep round French pottery vessel. Depth in your cooking container is important.
Rub the chicken with the olive oil on all sides. You should check the wing areas for any remaining pin feathers. Pluck them out.
Place 6 of the shallots inside of the chicken's cavity. Put the peels from the 4 lemons, plus herb sprigs inside and truss your bird with kitchen twine. Now liberally sprinkle the coarse pepper and salt on the bird's exterior skin. Lay the trussed bird on top of your potatoes.
Place the bird's innards amongst the potatoes. Place your remaining shallots, lemons, and quartered onions around the bird. Pour enough chicken broth and red wine to cover the potatoes and other vegetables. The more wine, the more flavor at plating. Sprinkle pepper and salt on top of the veggies. Lay a selection of herbs on top of the veggies. Cover with foil, place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Check the bird and add broth and wine to keep the veggies covered. Do not pour the broth or wine on the bird. Bake for another 15 minutes and check the chicken with a meat thermometer. You should now be at the hour mark. From here you will have to determine how long to continue cooking. Uncover the bird for the final 30 minutes of baking. The skin will crisp.
Set the entire dish out of the oven and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes. Quarter your chicken, and fill a shallow bowl or soup plate with the vegetables and cover with the broth. I love to serve this dish with a rustic bread. The broth is great for dipping.
Voila' bon appetite!