There is just something about roasted chicken that satisfies like nothing else.
Not long ago, I visited a friend. I had to take a deep breath to savor the aromas from her kitchen. Her British mother was roasting a chicken for Sunday supper. Not unusual. But the chicken breast was blanketed in bacon, adding to the intoxicating smells, and a good deal of flavor to the meat and the drippings.
I knew I had to take this English farmhouse tip home.
I wrap many things in bacon and it has saved many an average meal for me. But I have never wrapped a whole chicken. What I loved most about her technique was that the chicken was not wrapped; the bacon was haphazardly placed atop the chicken like a blanket. It was there to aid in cooking, not necessarily be part of the finished dish.
I added this technique to my recipe for roast chicken.
Roasted Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic and a Bacon Blanket
2 heads garlic, separated into cloves, but not peeled
8 medium shallots, not peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
5-pound whole chicken
8 ounces thick-cut bacon
Ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 500. In a large Dutch oven, toss garlic cloves and shallots with the olive oil. Add the wine, then sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
Use paper towels to pat dry the chicken, then season it with salt, including inside. Set the chicken, breast side up, on top of the garlic and shallots. Drape the strips of bacon over the chicken. Set the pan in the oven and cook for 1 to 1½ hours (time depends on how evenly your oven heats), or until the bacon is crisped and brown and the thighs read 170 degrees.
Remove chicken and set on a platter. Season bird with black pepper, then cover with foil and let it rest 10-15 minutes before carving. Slip garlic cloves and shallots from their skins and serve with the chicken.