Chicken Roasted in Bay Leaves

Chicken Roasted in Bay Leaves Recipe
Photo: Jan Smith
Placing bay leaves in the chicken cavity infuses the bird with a subtle herbed aroma as it roasts.


4 servings (serving size: 5 ounces meat and about 1/4 cup gravy)

Recipe from

Nutritional Information

Calories 306
Caloriesfromfat 36 %
Fat 12.3 g
Satfat 4.3 g
Monofat 4.4 g
Polyfat 2.3 g
Protein 37.1 g
Carbohydrate 4.5 g
Fiber 0.7 g
Cholesterol 117 mg
Iron 2.1 mg
Sodium 704 mg
Calcium 33 mg


1 (3 3/4-pound) whole roasting chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
16 bay leaves
4 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and crosswise
2 carrots, peeled and halved
1 medium onion, quartered
1/4 cup brandy
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare chicken, remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken; trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breasts and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper under loosened skin and over breasts and drumsticks. Place 8 bay leaves under loosened skin; place remaining 8 bay leaves in cavity.

Tie ends of the legs together with twine. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Place celery, carrot, and onion in a single layer in a roasting pan. Place chicken, breast side up, on top of vegetables.

Bake at 375° for 40 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 450°, and bake an additional 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the meaty part of thigh registers 170°. Using tongs or insulated rubber gloves, remove chicken from pan, tilting slightly to drain juices. Let stand for 15 minutes. Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; reserve.

To prepare gravy, place a zip-top plastic bag in a 2-cup glass measure. Pour brandy into bag; add drippings from pan. Let stand 2 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into measuring cup, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat.

Return vegetables to pan. Add brandy mixture, broth, and cream to pan; cook 10 minutes over medium heat, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Remove vegetables from pan using a slotted spoon; discard. Combine flour and water in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended to form a slurry; add slurry and 1/4 teaspoon salt to pan, stirring constantly. Simmer for 1 minute or until slightly thick.

Remove skin from chicken, and discard. Discard bay leaves. Carve chicken, and serve with gravy.


Lorrie Hulston Corvin,

May 2006
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