Sunday Roast Chicken

25 Mar
Sunday Roast Chicken

Mmmmmmm...

Dear Yolo,

Lately, having roast chicken on Sunday has become a tradition. It’s a healthy, delicious, simple, EASY!  meal and the leftover chicken meat stretches into sandwiches, pastas and snacks for a a few days after.

You’re no stranger to chicken roasting but for those who haven’t tried it, I strongly encourage you to. I know you can buy those ready-to-eat rotisserie chickens at the supermarket but it doesn’t compare to the taste of a chicken you roast yourself. Because there IS a difference in taste (and your peace of mind) I pick the biggest organic, free-range chicken I can find.  It’s a lovely ritual, and the results will make you feel like a kitchen god.

I’m sharing the recipe I use which is Thomas Keller’s Favorite Roast Chicken.  I love how he writes the recipe and how to enjoy the bird. There aren’t many things that feel cozier than enjoying (or sharing) the oysters of a freshly carved chicken. While I usually adapt recipes, I’ve reproduced this in its entirety because you just have to hear it straight from Keller. This is a man who knows how to enjoy a roast chicken.

To keep it healthy, I don’t serve the chicken with butter. We usually enjoy it alongside a salad or a couple of veg dishes.

Thomas Keller’s Favorite Roast Chicken
 from Gourmet Magazine (RIP!)

  • One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional)
  • Unsalted butter
  • Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Trussed and ready for the ovenSalt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it’s a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird. (Click here for a tutorial.)

Now, salt the chicken—I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it’s cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.

Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone—I don’t baste it, I don’t add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don’t want. Roast it until it’s done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I’m cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip—until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook’s rewards. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be superelegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You’ll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it’s so good. (Click here for a video tutorial on carving a chicken.)

Try and tell me that doesn’t sound good. Enjoy. 🙂

Love,

Maroon

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One Response to “Sunday Roast Chicken”

  1. dearyolo March 26, 2012 at 3:37 am #

    I was like a good roast chicken and this does not disappoint! We eat roast chicken pretty often because it’s cheap, easy and so good. I recommend using Baleine’s or another type of fine sea salt to coat the chicken (comes in a tube and super easy to pour without overdoing it). I like to use the leftover chicken in a spicy lentil or homemade version of a thai soup (pretty easy to make at home). Thank you!

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