My cooking pattern changes come wintertime. Salads [for dinner] don’t cut it after a cold commute home. I love my daily lunch salad but 2x/day is two much ;). Cozy meals that warm my body in addition to the [old] apartment come into rotation. The oven is a great source of heat for us without central air; except this recipe created a lot of smoke in 800 sq.ft. So much that after opening windows, a door, and turning the fan up to high, I’m not sure our apartment warmed up. It was a sight. Worth it? Read on.
This roast chicken. Oh, this one caught my eye. It used two techniques I had never tried. #1. No oil/water #2. Trussing. With so few ingredients, I had to give it a shot.
Trussing the bird took a couple of times because I was trying to avoid salmonella on my cell phone while simultaneously stringing the bird and watching YouTube.
I covered the bird with pink Himalayan salt (!) and pepper. Y’all know I don’t use a ton of salt, but I knew I needed it. And shit, in my trussing excitement I forgot to S+P of the cavity of the bird. Not sure it made a big difference but if you can remember before you start stringing, do it.
The dry bird went into the not-yet-smoking oven. And proceeded to sit enveloped smoke that I was sure would taste terrible. It came out, I let it rest, and it looked damn good. A suggestion of deglazing the skillet with white wine, a step I would have taken otherwise, but I was determined to follow this recipe. Until we sat down and bit into the crispy skin, the juicy, tender meat when I realized it needed no butter or Dijon as a condiment.
It needed n-o-t-h-i-n-g.
Like I said in the beginning, I look for recipes that warm my soul, and that’s just what this chicken did right here.
Recipe Report Card:
Amount of Pantry Staples Used: A
Taste profile: A+
Final grade: A
Thomas Keller’s Roasted Chicken
Original recipe here
1, 2-3 lb. farm-raised chicken
Kosher or Pink Salt
Ground Black Pepper
Thyme (optional, I did not use)
Unsalted butter (optional, did you read my post?)
Dijon Mustard (optional, also)
12 inch cast iron skillet, saute pan, or roasting pan (oven safe)
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. 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—rain 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 then the legs and thighs. Then 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 super elegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter, if using. 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.
Make ahead options:
This was great re-heated and also cold
- I might deglaze the pan and add white wine next time, I haven’t decided…
- Here are a few YouTube videos on trussing: here, here, and here. Stay patient, and have a set of extra hands on deck so you won’t have to worry about salmonella on your phone HA
- Also, ensure you clean your sink well with bleach. When I work with chicken it’s one of the few times that I will use bleach to clean.
- Remember to save your bones for stock!