Classic roast chicken pairs deliciously with Guenoc's California Zinfandel.
Number of Servings: Serves 4.
Pair With: California Zinfandel
For the Chicken
1 whole chicken 3.5 to 4.5 pounds (take the giblets out of the cavity!)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Sauce
Reserved pan drippings, degreased if necessary
¼ cup white wine
2 cups homemade chicken stock, or low-sodium canned
Pinch dried thyme
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
¼ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
To Roast the Chicken
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot. While the pan is heating, pat-dry the chicken with a few paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the chicken or remove them. Rub it with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and generously season the whole chicken (inside the cavity too) with salt and pepper. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan, swirl, and place the chicken in the pan, breast side down. Sear until well browned, about 3 minutes, turn the chicken over and sear another 3 to 4 minutes until the back too is well browned.
Now sear the sides (mostly the leg and thigh) by leaning the chicken against the side of the pan. Tongs work great for turning the chicken and can be used to help hold the chicken on its side. When finished, place the chicken breast side down in the middle of the pan and spoon out any remaining oil from the pan before putting in the oven. Discard the oil. (A few crumpled up paper towels works well too for blotting out the oil, just be careful not to get burned!) Place chicken in the oven and roast until the juices run clear, turning over two or three times during the cooking process (about 45 minutes). Each time you remove the pan from the oven to turn the chicken, spoon off the pan drippings and reserve for the sauce. This will ensure a crispier crust. Once the chicken is done, place on a baking sheet and let rest while you make the sauce. The same pan will be used for making the sauce.
To Make the Sauce
Heat the cast iron pan over high, add the reserved pan drippings, white wine, stock, and thyme. Reduce to approximately ½ cup, add the mustard and cream and reduce until sauce consistency, about ½ cup again. Add the chives and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper (you probably will need only the pepper).
To Serve the Chicken
Hack the chicken up into serving pieces and reheat on the baking sheet skin side up under the broiler until hot and crispy. Any juices left from the resting chicken can be added to the sauce. Reheat the sauce and serve on the side with the chicken.