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Whole Roasted Chicken with Plumped Raisins, Roasted Pine Nuts and Arugula

March 2011
Whole Roasted Chicken with Plumped Raisins, Roasted Pine Nuts and Arugula

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Succulent, tender, and aromatic, roast chicken is adish that all cooks should have in their arsenal.

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 3 1/2 pound whole chicken, preferably free-range
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2 cups fresh arugula leaves, stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put the raisins in a small ramekin and pour in the olive oil and 1 tablespoon water. Add the rosemary. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the raisins are plump. Remove the raisins from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Crank the oven temperature up to 450 degrees F. Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity and rinse the chicken inside and out under cold water. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Run your finger between the skin and the breast meat of the chicken, and slip the thyme sprigs in there. Season the body and cavity of the chicken generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Put a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and add the canola oil. When the oil is hot, lay the chicken in the pan, breast side down, tucking the wings under. Put the skillet in the oven and roast until the chicken starts to brown, about 35 minutes.
  4. Carefully take the pan out of the oven. Insert tongs or a sturdy wooden spoon into the cavity of the chicken and gently lift the chicken out, being careful not to tear the skin. Tilt the chicken slightly so all of the juices from the inside run out into the pan. Set the chicken on a large plate for a minute. Discard all of the pan juices, which will mostly be fat. Nestle the chicken back in the pan, breast side up. Return it to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. The chicken is done when the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife. To be extra sure, pop an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; it should read 165 degrees F. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before carving so the juices can settle back into the meat.
  5. To make a quick pan sauce, pour off the excess fat from the pan drippings. Put the skillet over medium-high heat and add the wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits stuck to bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. To serve, put a bed of arugula on individual plates or on a platter and arrange the carved chicken on top. Scatter the raisins and pine nuts all over. Drizzle with the pan sauce and a little of the raisin oil.