Wednesday, May 5, 2010

garlic-stuffed roasted chicken... 2 hours and 20 minutes

6 heads garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 whole chicken

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a serrated knife slice off top quarter of garlic heads, exposing as many cloves as possible. Arrange garlic heads, cut side up, in a square baking dish. Season garlic with salt and pepper and sprinkle with thyme. Slowly pour oil over each head, letting it soak into and around cloves. Cover dish tightly with foil and roast until cloves are golden, completely soft, and begin to protrude slightly from skins, about 1 hour.

Let stand until cool enough to handle. From the bottom up, squeeze each head to push out cloves. In a small bowl, roughly mash garlic with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry. Gently slip your fingers between skin and meat of breast, thighs, and legs to loosen skin. Evenly spread mashed garlic under skin, starting with leg and thigh area and working your way back toward neck. Generously season chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Tuck wing tips underneath chicken and tie legs together with kitchen twine.

Heat a cast-iron skillet on high. Add 1 tablespoon oil, swirl to coat skillet, then add chicken. Cook 1 minute, then transfer skillet to oven. Roast chicken until skin is deep golden brown and juices run clear when pierced between breast and leg (an instant read thermometer should read 160 degrees when inserted in thickest part of a thigh, avoiding bone), 45 minutes to an hour. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

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