This was one of my favorite meals when I was growing up. It always makes me think of winter or early spring days—days in which there’s a biting chill in the air. There’s something so comforting about roast chicken, and this is my favorite way to prepare it, just like my mum does. The key is the spiced carrot sauce, which gives the chicken a warm sweetness. Pair it with mashed potatoes, gravy, and a green vegetable such as beans or asparagus. It may be a calorie splurge, but you will go to bed full and happy, I promise.
7-8 lbs whole roasting chicken
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 clementine, quartered
1 small onion, quartered
1 small carrot, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup spiced carrot sauce, recipe follows
Spiced Carrot Sauce
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 Tbsp Grand Marnier, or to taste
2 Tbsp orange juice, or to taste
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
To make the Spiced Carrot Sauce:
1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot and cook, stirring frequently, until the carrot is softened, about 15 minutes.
2. Add the Grand Marnier and orange juice to the saucepan. Stir occasionally, allowing the liquid to reduce and thicken, about 5-10 minutes.
3. Once the liquid resembles honey, add the cinnamon and cloves. Stir to combine. Lower the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes more.
4. Taste the mixture—if you don’t feel it’s sweet enough, add more Grand Marnier to taste. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more orange juice to loosen it up. Remove from heat and set aside until you are ready to use.
To make the chicken:
1. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least two hours in advance to allow it to come to room temperature.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the chicken on a roasting rack set in a roasting pan. Remove the giblets from the cavity and save for later use. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the flesh of the breast, doing your best not to tear the skin. Smear 4 tablespoons of the softened butter in between the skin and flesh of each side of the breast (2 tablespoons per side). Smear the remaining 4 tablespoons of softened butter over the surface of the chicken and inside the cavity.
3. Fill the cavity with the clementine quarters, onion quarters, and carrot chunks. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the body.
4. Place a tent made of aluminum foil over the chicken and put it in the oven. Set the timer for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
5. After the timer goes off, spread 1/4-cup of the spiced carrot sauce over the chicken breast. Replace the foil tent and put the chicken back in the oven. Roast for another 30 minutes.
6. Remove the roast chicken from the oven and allow it to stand for 20-30 minutes before carving.