Best-Ever Roast Chicken

This is the classic roast chicken that all cooks should have in their arsenal. One of the secrets to success is starting it out breast-side down, which keeps the breast meat juicy. Though the chicken is fabulous on its own, you can take it to the next level with a few more ingredients by making a simple pan sauce.

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    For the chicken:
    • 1 4-pound roasting chicken, giblets removed
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    For the pan sauce (optional):
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
    • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
    Put the chicken breast side up on a roasting rack in a medium (9x13-inch or similar) flameproof baking dish or roasting pan. Tuck the wing tips behind the neck and loosely tie the legs together with a piece of kitchen twine. Season the breast all over with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Turn the chicken over. Season the back all over with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Drizzle the oil evenly over the back of the chicken.
    Roast the chicken breast side down for 30 minutes. Turn it over by inserting sturdy tongs into the cavity and flipping it. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165 degrees to 170 degrees F, an additional 30 to 35 minutes.
    Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, loosely tent it with foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes.
    While the chicken rests, remove the roasting rack from the pan and let the pan sit for 10 minutes to slightly cool the pan juices. Tilt the pan so the juices run to one corner. Use a large soup spoon to skim off and discard as much of the clear fat as possible.
    Position the pan over a large burner on high heat. Pour the wine into the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. Add 3/4 cup water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer. If the liquid does not cover the entire bottom of your pan, tilt the pan to move the liquid around. Continue scraping up all of the bits, using the back of the spoon to dissolve as much of the browned bits as you can, until the sauce reduces to about 1/3 cup and is a deep mahogany color, 8 to 10 minutes.
    Take the pan off the heat, add the parsley, and swirl in the cold butter until it melts. Season to taste with pepper and transfer the sauce to a pitcher or bowl for serving.
    Snip the twine from the chicken's legs, carve the chicken, and serve.
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