Pollo alla campagnola Tuscany
COUNTRY-STYLE CHICKEN - Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Preparation - Medium
Serves 4 - 6
Use a vin santo that is on the dry side for basting the fowl, or, lacking vin santo, use a dryish sherry, or dry Martini. Butter doesn't appear often in the Tuscan country kitchen; it was made, if at all, in the summertime after the calves had been weaned. It lends extra richness to this dish but, if you prefer, it may be omitted.
Make sure chicken is at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Pull the fat out of the chicken cavity. Rinse the bird in cool water and dry well, in-side and out, with paper towels. Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper.
In a roasting pan large enough to hold the chicken, melt the butter in the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, stir into the fat, and sweat gently, lowering the heat if necessary to keep the onions from browning. Cook for about 20 minutes or until they are very soft.
Push the onions out to the sides of the pan and set the chicken in the middle. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes or so with the vin santo or sherry. Then lower the heat to 325 degrees F. and continue roasting another 30 minutes, continuing to baste with the vin santo or with the juices in the pan. If the pan juices reduce too much, baste with chicken stock or hot water.
The chicken is done when a leg moves loosely on its joint or when the juices run clear yellow when pricked with a fork.
Remove the chicken from the oven and set aside to rest for 10 minutes or so before carving. If the pan juices are too liquid, boil them rapidly over high heat, taking care not to fry the onions. The onions should be quite brown, but roasted rather than fried, and very soft.