NOTE: Here is an updated version of this recipe.
Many people are intimidated by the idea of roasting a whole bird – this kind of practice is often only reserved for a Thanksgiving turkey, and tragically so. I like to consider the whole roasting and carving of a chicken as practice for a perfect holiday meal. There are dozens of ways to roast a chicken, and many more ingredients you can use to add complexity, but I feel that they are ultimately unnecessary. Mine is a two-part process, which includes initially cooking the chicken breast-side down to prevent them from drying out.
I roast my chicken in a Le Creuset french oven, and although it is one of my favorite all-around cooking dishes, it would probably roast better in a braiser. A braiser’s lower edges would allow more of the bird to openly roast and crisp more evenly. Either way, the french oven still does the trick just fine, so let’s get down to business: