(disgusting and wonderful)
1 4-lb. chicken, neck and innards removed
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.25 to 1.5 cups rice (see note at the bottom)
1 10.5-oz. can french onion soup + 1 can water (or an equivalent amount of homemade onion soup)
Salt and pepper
In a large container or pot, combine 1 1/2 quarts of cold tap water and 1/2 cup kosher salt (1/4 cup table salt). Stir to dissolve. Submerge chicken in brine and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Remove chicken from brine and dry well with paper towels. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450. Prepare the roasting rack by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray.
In a food processor or mortar and pestle, (or just in a bowl with a fork) combine butter, herbs, and minced garlic into a paste. Loosen the skin over the breast and thigh on each side of the chicken. Spread three-quarters of the paste under the skin. Tie the drumsticks together with kitchen twine and tuck wings behind back. Oil the skin lightly and season with pepper. Set chicken breast-side down on prepared rack in roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes.
Mix together the soup and water with the remaining tablespoon of herb butter. After the first fifteen minutes of roasting, scatter the rice and liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan. Continue roasting for another 15 minutes.
Remove roasting pan from oven and decrease temperature to 375. Rotate chicken breast-side up on the rack, stir the rice, and return to the oven for approximately another 30 minutes, or until the breast meat is 160 and the thigh meat is 175 on an instant-read thermometer.
Let chicken rest for about ten minutes before carving. Transfer the rice to a serving bowl.
(Note: I think these proportions are about right. The last time I made it, I only used a cup of rice, and had way too much liquid/fat left over at the end. I think in the range of 1.25-1.5 cups will work correctly.)