If you wish to roast a medium-size bird, bistro-style, just skip the flavorings and use this oven technique anyway.
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 young roaster, about 4 pounds
12 shallots, peeled
20 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1. Preheat oven to 475°F.
2. Mix the rosemary, salt, pepper, and olive oil together in a small bowl. Wash and pat dry the chicken inside and out. Place it in a roasting pan, making sure there is enough room to let hot air circulate around the bird. Disperse evenly the peeled shallots, the garlic cloves, and the giblets, if you have them, around the pan. Using your fingers, rub the oil and rosemary mixture onto and under the skin of the entire bird, in the cavity, and on the shallots, garlic, and giblets. Every surface should be covered. Position the bird breast side up in the middle of the roasting pan.
3. When the oven is hot, put the roasting pan in sideways on the middle rack. After 20 minutes, remove the bird from the oven, shutting the door quickly so the oven temperature does not drop. Baste the chicken, giblets, and inside the bird using juices from the pan. (If there are no juices in the pan, add 1/4 cup water.) Turn the bird over, breast side down, propping the wing tip up with a crumpled piece of aluminum foil. Put the pan back in the oven and reduce the temperature to 450°F.
4. After 15 minutes, baste the bird thoroughly again. This time, reduce the heat to 375°. Turn the bird breast side up. Continue cooking and basting every 15 minutes until chicken is cooked and golden brown, about 1 hour. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes, then carve and serve.
5. While the chicken is resting, prepare a jus in the roasting pan. Add 1 cup chicken stock and 1/2 cup white wine to the pan, place it over high heat, and scrape up the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Reduce to 1 cup. Remove giblets, shallots, and garlic, and place the pan juices in a blender. Blend until smooth, taste for seasoning, heat, and serve over chicken.
Here's a method for a medium-size chicken that uses both high heat and lower heat; it is adapted from the findings of food scientist Harold McGee. It is the best basic roast chicken recipe we know of for medium-size birds. With this particular highly flavored recipe, of course, we move away from the classic bistro, and closer to the trattoria—but if you wish to roast a medium-size bird, bistro-style, just skip the flavorings and use this oven technique anyway. Serves 4