They liked my proposal! Yay! I'm officially a doctoral candidate now, so to celebrate, here's a recipe for the best roasted chicken ever.
1 2 1/2-3ish lb brined* whole chicken
extra virgin olive oil
2-3 ribs celery, chopped into 1 in pieces
inner celery leaves
3 carrots, chopped into 1 in pieces
1 smediumish yellow onion, cut in eighths
1 small lemon, quartered
optional: fresh herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary do well)
1 stick butter, melted
Heat oven to 375. In a small roasting pan or a 13x9 in cake pan (guess which one I used... yeah, that'd be the cake pan because our roasting pan is stupidly large) place the chopped celery, most of the chopped carrots save a few pieces, 6 pieces of the onion, and then chunks of bread on top of the vegetables. I used hoagie rolls, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into 2x2x1 pieces.
Rub olive oil over the outside of the chicken and season with salt and pepper.
In the cavity of the chicken place lemons, celery leaves, a couple pieces of carrots, a couple pieces of onion and herbs if you want. If there's not enough room in the cavity for all the vegetables, just toss them in the roasting pan.
Set the chicken atop the vegetables and place in the oven for ~30-35 minutes, basting with butter every 10 minutes and then using the drippings once they're available.
Increase the oven temperature to 450 and place a probe thermometer in the breast.
Once the breast reaches 170 F, remove the chicken from the oven, tip the accumulated juices out of the cavity and take out the stuffed vegetables and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.
In the roasting pan, take out the bread and either toss it or eat it with the chicken. The bread will be toasty on one side, buttery, and full of pan dripping goodness. It might be the best part. om nom nom.
Remove vegetables from the pan as well and set aside for stock. You can use the drippings as the base for gravy, if you're into that sort of thing. :)
Once the chicken is carved and eaten (save the bones!), place the carcass+bones and reserved veggies into a stockpot, cover with water, and turn on overnight. In the middle of the night, when you're in the fridge for leftover chicken, move the lid of the crockpot to allow it to vent and enjoy your tasty midnight snack.
In the morning, remove from the crockpot, strain and refrigerate. Take off the layer of fat at the top and save it to roast vegetables in.
1/2 c uniodized table salt (or 3/4 c kosher salt)
1/2 c brown sugar
1 quart hot water
2 1/2 c cold water
1 cup ice
In a sauce pan, mix hot water with the salt and sugar. Stir to dissolve. If you're impatient place the pan over low heat until all is dissolved. Add in cold water and ice. Pour this into a gallon sized ziplock bag and slide in the chicken. Put in the fridge for at least a 30 minutes and up to ~2 hours. If it's less, it's not so effective and if it's more, the chicken is too salty. Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.