Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Perfect Simple Roast Chicken

Thomas Keller is a renowned American chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author who has won multiple culinary awards from 1999 to present.  His landmark restaurant, The French Laundry, that has been on my bucket list for years and when I land foot for the first time in Napa Valley, having a meal there will be numero uno on my itinerary.  Keller's culinary likes and dislikes are highly sought after, so much so, that he was one of 50 chefs who was asked, "What would your last meal on earth be?"  The answers, subsequent recipes, and interviews are detailed in a book entitled My Last Supper. 

I have not read the book, but I did see this recipe for Simple Roast Chicken that Thomas Keller listed as an item for his last meal on earth.  I think of all the most amazing recipes I know, all the decadent meals that have been prepared for me, all the tastes, aromas, sights that I have experienced in restaurants around the world, and I'm not sure that I would select a simple roasted chicken.  The recipe piqued my interest and I made it that evening for dinner trying to decide what made this roasted chicken so special.

What I found was an amazingly moist chicken with perfectly crisp skin and an exceptional flavor seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and thyme.  In general, roasted chicken is a relatively easy process, but some of the items that were tweaked for this recipe made a difference.  For instance, thoroughly drying the chicken inside and out with paper towels and roasting the chicken at a high temperature for the entire time seals in the chicken's juices, both of which make for the moistest chicken I have ever eaten.  In addition, the recipe calls for spreading salt and pepper inside the cavity as well as the outside, which adds exceptional flavor to the meat.  From now on, these are the instructions I will follow for Simple Roast Chicken.  Not because it was the last meal request from the most renowned American chef to date, but because the subtle differences in this recipe make an outstanding roast chicken that my family devoured down to the bones.

Perfect Simple Roast Chicken
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1 whole chicken
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons fresh thyme

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and place oven rack in middle position.  Remove the goblets and neck bone from inside the chicken cavity.  Wash the inside and outside of the chicken with cold water and then thoroughly dry both the inside and outside cavities with paper towels.  Do not skip the drying; it is what will produce a crispy skin and seal in the chicken's juices while roasting.

2.  Salt and pepper the inside cavity then place chicken breast side up in 9 x 13 pan, dutch oven, or roasting pan.  If desired, truss the bird.  Many people feel that trussing is essential; I do not.  However, do not let my opinion persuade you one way or the other.  If you are a trusser, truss away.  Brush melted butter evenly over the surface of the chicken.  Sprinkle evenly with kosher salt.  Do not skimp on the salt--this is what will flavor your chicken.  You should visibly see the salt over the entire surface.  Evenly sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and dried thyme.

3.  Roast for 45-50 minutes, or until juices run clear and meat thermometer reads 160 degrees at the thickest part of the leg.  Remove from oven, baste with juices, and sprinkle evenly with fresh thyme.  Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Recipe from Almost Bourdain

This recipe is linked to Works For Me Wednesday, Women Living Well, and What's on the Menu.


Inspired2cook said...

There's few things better than a perfectly roasted chicken! Yum!!!

Marelie said...

This is yummy.Roast chicken is always present on our table back home.I miss it. your recipe looks really good. I am your newest follower.I saw your blog while browsing.Hope you could come, visit my blog and follow too. Marelie Thanks

Mamahollioni said...

Inspired2cook--I agree!

Marelie--Welcome! I'll stop by your blog soon.

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