Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

the perfect whole roast chicken. no, really. (and easy, easy!)

So, just a little background..   I have been avidly cooking since around the 10th grade.  In that, I mean watching cooking shows, reading cookbooks and trying pretty much every recipe that I could afford.  Time and money, that is.  Well, roast chicken.  The perfect bird. I cannot tell you how many recipes, techniques and different chef's instructions/tips I have tried over the years.  And to, I guess, decent success.  Nothing to write home about.  But never-the-less.. I'd say bi-weekly in the cooler months, I would roast up a bird.  After all, it is quintessential home-y-ness. It has been said that a chef is only as good as well as they roast a chicken.  As far as whole foods diet, it's kinda perfect.
Well, after 20-some years.. I happen to catch Thomas Keller on Anthony Bourdain's show, detailing his technique for perfect roast chicken.  He was very adamant about it and it was too darn simple, I just had to try it.  Lemme just say, I wish I had heard from him years ago.
It is the least amount of fuss and is done under an hour and it really comes out perfect every time.  I served it to mom and pop who had enjoyed my other birds... But this one got the comments.  That was the best, etc. etc.  Maybe a fluke?  Tried it again.  Comments ensued like, "You really have gotten down roasting a chicken." "This truly is the best chicken, ever."  ..and on and on.  Seriously, save yourself and try it out on someone you love or simply want to impress.

the bird...

Basic Whole Chicken (easy steps)....

Preheat oven to 475º F
1 whole chicken, rinsed and dried with paper towel (very well) 
   Salt and pepper inside cavity.
   Stuff inside: 
   head of garlic, unpeeled and halved 
   1/2 lemon, organic & unpeeled
   fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs

Tuck wings underneath (see pics) and tie legs with kitchen twine.

Sprinkle generously & evenly with (kosher or sea) salt and pepper.

Place in oven and don't touch for 50-60 minutes.

Check using thermometer. (170º minimum)
Remove from oven.  Spoon juices over bird.  
Let rest 15 minutes while you make some gravy.

Basic Gravy...

Melt 2T. butter in sauce pan
Add 2 T. of chicken pan juices
Add 1/4 c. flour, whisking and let cook till starts to brown
Slowly whisk in chicken stock or more pan juices until desired consistency
Add some fresh thyme leaves. S+P to taste
Add a splash of cream, whisking in

Here is what I found on Thomas Keller, regarding his Simple Roast Chicken ...   which is who inspired me in this method.

  Epicurious | October 2004
by Thomas Keller

Mon Poulet Rôti
Yield: Makes 2 to 4 servings

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.
Salt 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.
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.

Source Information

*My notes on Bouchon's method:  I didn't use butter or mustard and it was fabulous in itself.
I did however stuff 1/2 a lemon, sprig of thyme and rosemary, 1/2 head of garlic, unpeeled in the cavity... I just love the essence it gives.
Be sure to check for doneness.  I use a meat thermometer.  Registering at least 170.
And always let your meat rest 15 minutes before carving into.

No comments:

Post a Comment