Make the cranberry-honey glaze:
Combine the cranberries, honey, and vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn down the heat to medium and simmer until the cranberries pop and are very soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into a fine sieve set over a bowl. Use a rubber spatula to force most of the pulp through the sieve, leaving the skins and seeds behind (be sure to get the pulp clinging to the bottom of the sieve). Add the chopped thyme and stir until the glaze is well combined. Set aside to cool and thicken.
Prepare the chicken:
Position a rack in the lowest part of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Set a V-rack in a foil-lined medium or large roasting pan. Trim the excess fat from the chicken and clean out the cavity. Tuck the wing tips behind the neck and set the chicken on a tray or cutting board. Put the shallot and reserved thyme stems in the cavity of the chicken. Brush the chicken all over with half of the melted butter. Generously season the chicken all over with salt and pepper, including the cavity. Tie the legs loosely if you want, and set the chicken, breast side up, on the rack in the pan.
Roast on the bottom oven rack for 20 minutes. Baste with the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. butter and roast for 10 minutes. Stir the glaze to loosen it, then brush the chicken with about half of the glaze. Don’t worry if some of the glaze slides off the chicken. Roast for 10 minutes, then brush with the remaining glaze. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 170°F and the juices run clear, 30 to 35 minutes more. The skin should be a caramelized reddish-brown. If any parts of the chicken begin to get too brown before the chicken is done, tent it with foil.
Remove the pan from the oven and tilt the chicken to allow juices in the cavity to drain into the pan. (As long as the thighs have reached 170°F, it’s fine if these juices are pink.) Transfer the chicken to a cutting board or platter and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes. Carve and serve with the cranberry relish.
Make Ahead Tips
Make the glaze a few days ahead and refrigerate. Return to room temperature before using. Make the relish a day ahead and keep it in the refrigerator.
A vibrant, youthful Pinot Noir would match the cranberry notes in the glaze. Look for the Echelon Pinot Noir from California or the Taz Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on six servings;
Photo: Scott Philiips