1 4-pound chicken
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1 scant cup olive oil
2 fresh parsley sprigs
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 fresh sage sprig
1 bay leaf
1 celery rib
40 garlic cloves, peeled (from 3 to 4 heads of garlic)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. Tie legs together with kitchen string and fold wings under chicken.
- Heat the oil in a 6- to 8-quart, wide, heavy, ovenproof pot over moderately high heat until hot, but not smoking. Brown the chicken, turning it carefully, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
- Tie herbs and celery together with string and add to the pot along with garlic cloves. Put chicken, breast side up, on top of cloves and bake, tightly covered, in the middle of the oven, basting twice, until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into the fleshy part of a thigh (avoid bone) registers 170 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Transfer chicken to a cutting board, reserving pan juices, and let stand 10 minutes. Cut chicken into serving pieces and serve drizzled with some of the reserved pan juices. Use the roasted garlic as a spread on toasts.
NOTE: The garlic in this dish mellows with cooking.