As prepared on NBC Today Show
6 LB roasting chicken, preferably free-range organic
1 each lemon
1 each large onion, peeled
1 each rosemary sprig
1/2 C dry white wine
to taste coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
------ for optional gravy
1 T cornstarch dissolved in 1 T cold water
1 C chicken broth, or more as needed
1. Preheat the oven to 450 deg.
2. Rinse the chicken under cool running water. Drain well and pat dry. (Reserve the giblets for another use if desired.)
3. Cut the lemon cross wise in half and squeeze the juice onto the chicken skin, rubbing it in as you squeeze and moistening all of the skin with juice. Place the onion in the cavity, along with the optional sprig of rosemary. Season the cavity with salt and pepper to taste. Fasten the neck skin under the chicken with a small skewer or by sewing closed with a trussing needle and thread. Fold the wing tips under the wings. Generously season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.
4. Place the chicken on a rack in a heavy roasting pan. Push the legs back against the body, but don't tie them together, as this would keep the meat from roasting evenly. Pour the wine into the pan and roast for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 375 deg. and continue to roast for about 1 hour longer, or until the chicken skin is golden-brown and crisp, the thigh meat is soft the the touch, and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 155 deg. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, if you want to make the gravy, spoon of the excess fat from the roasting pan, after removing the chicken and rack. Place the pan on the top of the stove over medium heat. (This may require 2 burners.) Stir the cornstarch mixture and broth into the pan juices. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, or until the gravy is smooth and the starchy taste has cooked out. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
6. Carve the chicken and serve with the optional gravy on the side.
Note - To carve a chicken:
To remove the wings, slice off at the joint next to the body. Set aside. Pull each leg slightly away from the body. Slice down through the thigh joint to remove the entire leg from the body. Slice through the leg joint to divide the drumstick and thigh. With the knife parallel to the breast bone, slice the breast meat away from each side of the carcass by cutting from the center of the breast slightly to the front, removing the meat in thin slices. Alternately, remove the entire breast by carefully cutting it away from the breastbone and then cut the breast meat crosswise into thin slices. If desired, you can remove the skin from the chicken breast before slicing.