Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Simple Roasted Chicken

Buying a whole chicken take guts.  Lots of people think they're gross or messy or hard to cook.  Or maybe folks are scared because of the myths about fancy preparations or deathly-dry results.

Let's be really clear: Anyone can make a killer roasted chicken.

Thomas Keller, fancy chef extraordinaire, developed my favorite roasted chicken recipe.  It's my favorite because it's dead simple.  I've never screwed it up and, so long as you pay attention to the timer, neither will you.  Yes, I promise.

Here's what you need to do. (I've left out steps from the video because I have no patience.) 

  1. Buy whole a 3-5lb chicken.
  2. Remove the bag of innards* then rinse the bird, dry it and let it warm to near-room temperature.
  3. Set the oven to 425-450 degrees
  4. Season the inside of the bird liberally with salt pepper and whatever else you like; garlic, herbs, whatever.
    1. Avoid stuff like lemon or liquids which would increase the moisture content of the air in the oven; that's a crispness killer.
  5. Truss or tie the bird (I use two toothpicks to hold the legs together)
  6. Place it in a sauté pan or use my method and suspended the bird over the pan using a stainless steel cooling rack.
  7. Season the outside of the bird liberally with salt, pepper and your dry spices, if desired.
  8. Place the chicken in the hot oven and set your timer to 40 minutes (your mileage may vary here)
  9. Remove when cooked.
    1. If your bird feels undercooked - it may feel soft when you press the breast or the juices may run pink instead of the desired clear -  return it to the hot oven for 5-10 minutes depending on your needs.
The result of this process is crisp and juicy every single time we've tried to make it.  You'll notice that our finished bird was already missing its wings and tail by the time we took the picture.  Those parts are to be eaten immediately.  They're the best parts and you are not obligated to share them.

The bird was cut into parts and pieces and served with asparagus and mashed potatoes.

This recipe is too simple not to try.  Go buy a bird and let me know how it turns out.

*Do what you will with the innards.  All of it is worth eating grilled or sauteed in butter.