Chicken and tarragon is a favorite flavor combination of mine, and what better way to roast a chicken than to stuff it with tarragon. When making roast chicken, I prefer the two-step searing-then-roasting method, as it helps render out some of the fat for crispy, golden-brown skin and slightly lowers the overall cooking time. —Lauren Shockey
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Rinse the chicken under cold water and remove any viscera from the cavity. Pat dry really well with paper towels. Cut off the wing tips, and, using a small knife, carefully remove the wishbone at the top of the bird’s neck by making an upside-down V-shaped slit. Place all but one tablespoon’s worth of tarragon in the cavity, along with the garlic cloves. Mince the remaining tarragon and insert it under the chicken’s skin above the thigh and breast meat, loosening the skin as you go. Truss the chicken either completely with a trussing needle, or simply tie the legs together with twine, then going across the thighs, tie the twine under the wings on the bottom of the bird. Using twine and making small holes with a knife, tie the flaps of skin at the base of the cavity.
2. Season the chicken all over with the salt and pepper.
3. Heat the oil in a pot large enough to hold the chicken. When the oil starts to smoke, place the chicken, skin side down, in the pot and cook until the skin is browned, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Turn and cook until the skin is dark brown all over, about 9 to 10 minutes total.
4. Remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes. Then lower the heat to 350 degrees F and continue cooking for an hour, or until the juices run clear when pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven and let sit for ten minutes before carving.
Lauren Shockey is a New York City-based food writer and author of the cookbook Hangover Helper as well as the culinary memoir Four Kitchens. Previously the restaurant critic at the Village Voice, she has written for such publications as The New York Times, Travel + Leisure and the Wall Street Journal.