Recipe: Roast Chicken with Pears and Shallots

With the arrival of cooler weather, making this easy and scrumptious chicken is a great way to warm up your house, delight your belly, and refresh your bird handling skills for Thanksgiving.

1 whole chicken, about 5 pounds, innards removed
10 sprigs fresh thyme divided, plus 1 tablespoon leaves
6 shallots, peeled and cut in half
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/2 lemon, cut in half
3 Pears
Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to 475 F degrees.

Rinse the chicken inside and out. Pat it dry inside and out with a clean dishtowel.

Place the chicken in a dutch oven. Season the bird all over with salt and pepper. Gently lift the skin away from the breasts and season the breasts with salt, pepper, and the thyme leaves. Be sure to recover the breasts with the skin if any has come aside. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the lemon, garlic, and five sprigs of thyme. Tie the legs together neatly with some kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the legs.

Place the chicken in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. While the chicken roasts, peel the shallots and cut them in half. Slice the pears in half lengthwise and remove the core and stem. Half the halves again.

Remove the chicken from the oven. If any juices have accumulated, baste the chicken. Add the pears, shallots, and remaining thyme to the dutch oven. Cover with the lid and roast for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste the chicken. Put the bird back in the oven without the lid and roast for another 25 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone.

Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let it rest for ten minutes. While the chicken rests, place the dutch oven on the stove top and braise the pears and shallots in the accumulated juices for a few minutes.

Carve the chicken and plate with the pears and shallots. Make sure to spoon the juice from the dutch oven over everything generously (and try not to sip it straight from the pot with a spoon).

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