This recipe is slightly sweet yet savory. The bacon and prunes melding together with the mild sweetness of shallots and the bite of Armagnac. (This also would work well with poussins or cornish game hens...) —coffeefoodwrite
1 4-5 pound chicken (preferably organic)
1 cup pitted prunes
½ cup + 1 tablespoon Armagnac or good Cognac
extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground pepper
20 medium shallots (about 3 cups)
1 cup chicken stock (plus more if necessary for gravy)
Place prunes in small bowl and cover with Armagnac or Cognac. Let soak for at least one hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse and dry chicken. Salt inside of cavity liberally.
Place a few shallots inside bird and around bird. Drizzle shallots with olive oil, salt and pepper. Tuck a few prunes inside bird and place the rest between shallots. Pour Armagnac and chicken stock over shallots and prunes.
Generously pepper breast and legs of chicken. Cut bacon to fit and place over breast and legs. Tent with foil.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for one hour, basting halfway through and tossing shallots and prunes with sauce so they do not dry out.
Remove foil; turn heat up to 425 degrees, generously baste again, and roast for about 25-30 minutes more until bacon is crisp and breast is browned (basting several times during this period to keep breast juicy). Remove chicken and shallots to warmed serving platter.
Mix together flour, butter and tarragon to make a smooth paste. Place roasting pan on top of stove over medium high heat and bring to simmer – bubbling very lightly. You should have about a cup and half of stock (add additional chicken stock if necessary). Whisk in butter/ flour mixture a little at a time (add more stock if necessary to reach desired amount.) Halfway through whisking in flour/butter mixture and final tablespoon of Armagnac. Whisk and cook until thickened. About 5-7 minutes. Adjust for salt and pepper. Pour into gravy boat or serving dish.
Carve meat at table. Spoon warm gravy over top and consume...