It's not because I've been married to a former Canadian (who still says eh--pronounced AY--but not nearly as often as he used to) for over 33 years that I am so devoted to Canadian chicken. I also love D'Artagnon's blue foot chicken. But hands down the Canadian chicken I got from Nick at Gourmet Garage in SoHo is the best I've ever tasted in this country. Yes it's more expensive but oh the flavor. It actually tastes like chicken and there's very little fat. The first time I ordered it from him I picked up some other groceries and somehow left the chicken behind. When I called Nick he offered to send it to me and refused to charge for the chicken or the delivery. When I told him that I write cookbooks on baking he was genuinely surprised and then told me that his daughter is a pastry chef. It's great to know that there are still people out there in New York City who have the graciousness and friendliness of small town old time shopping. Next time you're in the mood for the best roast chicken call Nick: 917-612-6420 and make this recipe:
Rosemary Roast Chicken
1 chicken 3.5 to 4 lbs 1Kg588 to 1 Kg 814
1 large clove of garlic, cut in half and peeled
goose fat or unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons/12 grams black pepper, freshly ground a few grindings
cayenne pepper a pinch or 2
fresh rosemary several branches
paprika a sprinkling
For the crispest skin, allow the chicken to sit unwrapped in the refrigerator overnight. (Place it on a rack, preferably V shaped, in a pan to catch any juices.) Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting and discard any juices.
Preheat oven to 425°F. at least 30 minutes before roasting.
Rub the chicken all over with the cut garlic and then rub it all over with the goose fat or butter. Stir together the salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and sprinkle inside and out with this mixture. Place the cut garlic in the cavity and add the fresh rosemary. Fold back the wing tips under the back. Leave the chicken untrussed. Place breast side up on a rack in the roasting pan.
Place the chicken in the oven and baste every 15 minutes with the pan drippings. (Keep the oven door open as briefly as possible when basting.) Roast 45 minutes. Turn over the chicken so that it is breast side down and continue roasting 15 minutes for a 3½ pound bird, 30 minutes for a 4 pound bird.
Test for doneness by tipping the chicken tailward. The juices should run clear and golden. Three to 5 minutes before estimated time of doneness, sprinkle the chicken all over with paprika. Leave the chicken on the rack for 15 minutes before carving so that it can reabsorb its juices and the skin remain crisp.
Note: For pan gravy, add 1 cup of water or dry white wine to the roasting pan and bring it to a boil on top of the range, stirring to release the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil, stirring constantly, until reduced to 1/3 cup. Pour into a gravy boat and serve with the chicken.