Roasting a Chicken My Way – With a Killer Sauce

March 23, 2010

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It was a strange moment. Skinny vegetarian that I was, I stood alone in the kitchen with a gnarled chicken bone in my hand and juices dripping down my arm. I swear, I tried to resist. But the roasted chicken outsmarted me with it’s garlic infused, animal smells. 4 years ago, I ripped into that thing like an animal in the wild, surprising myself and everyone around me.

This, I hope, helps explain my somewhat fanatical fascination with roasting chickens. I really just love them dearly. So, when I see a new recipe or a new technique to try, I can’t resist hauling out the roasting pan and firing up the oven.

Except, last Sunday I was tired. So, instead of dealing with a big roasting pan, I put 4 or 5 carrots on the bottom of a shallow baking dish and set the chicken on top. It was a lovely homemade rack, I thought, and it worked really well.

In France, there’s a dish called Boulangerie Potatoes. They take a big roast — like a lamb of leg — and place it on the top shelf of a hot oven. A pan of potatoes is then put on the rack below and as the roast cooks on top, it drips its glorious meat juices into the potatoes.

I like to think of this easy potato dish as a very simplistic Boulangerie because I baste the potatoes with the chicken juices that accumulate in the bottom of the roasting rack. Because the potatoes are so textural and high in starch, they soak in all of this liquid gold with ease.

In honor of the rustic meal, I composed a very simple vinaigrette for some mixed greens – 3 parts olive oil, 1 part sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt.

Maybe it’s unseasonable to mention this warm, rich dinner — but it was so good, I just couldn’t resist.


Roasting a Chicken My Way

  1. Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat it dry.
  2. Salt and pepper inside the cavity of the chicken.
  3. Stuff 2 heads of garlic with their tops cut off inside the chicken cavity. Throw some thyme in there if you’ve got some.
  4. Butter it the outside of the chicken. I mean butter it all over. Use half a stick and don’t be shy.
  5. season the top with salt and pepper and truss it if you’re ambitious.

  6. Sprinkle minced shallots all over the thing — everywhere — so that they caramelize.
  7. Stick the chicken on top of 4 or 5 carrots in a shallow baking dish and pop it into a 350 degree oven.
  8. After 40 or so minutes, crank the oven up to 400 degrees. I think this is the best way to get a nice, crispy skin.
  9. Cook the chicken until its internal temperature reaches about 150 degrees. Take it out and let it rest on the counter until the juices redistribute. The rule is that when you serve it, it should be about 165 degrees.

Nandurbar For the Soy Marinade:

  1. Combine 4 ounces of unsalted butter, 1/3 cup soy sauce and 1/3 cup water.
  2. Reduce sauce in a pot until slightly thick.
  3. Baste the chicken with the sauce during the last 15 minutes of cooking
  4. [/print_this]

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Food Hussy March 24, 2010 at 6:47 am

sounds great! can’t wait to try it!


Chris S March 29, 2010 at 9:13 am

I have fallen in love with the Thomas Keller roast chicken. I can’t not do it that way any more… But I may give this a whirl, we’ll see. Its hard to veer away from the method I know produces simplistic perfection!


Courtney March 29, 2010 at 9:37 am

So what’s the Thomas Keller trick to roasted chicken? I must know. I could consult my Ad Hoc cookbook, but if you have any tricks please share!


Chris S March 29, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Well, you will read this recipe and think “Nah, thats just basic chicken” but there are a few basic tricks that make for the absolutely most succulent roast chicken ever.

The basic “tricks” are no frozen chickens, relatively small size farm raised birds (findlay has quite a few to choose from), very very very very very dry bird before going in the oven, bird at room temp before roasting, and copious amounts of sea salt on the bird (try it with just sea salt first, i add herbs but for the first time, this is how chicken is supposed to taste – a very chickeny chicken), and of course a good truss job.

Here’s a link to “how its done”, and don’t scoff, just try it :) I do it this way almost every time now (unless I am doing the braised chicken in milk with lemons thing)


Chris S March 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Oh, the other trick – VERY high temp oven from the start.

Chris S March 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Another very delicious way to make a chicken (does require a really nice heavy dutch oven)


Courtney March 31, 2010 at 11:01 am

Wow, I told you that I love new roasted chicken techniques. I can’t wait to try these out. I’ll let you know how they go.


Chris S April 13, 2010 at 7:09 am

Do let me know how they work out for you, they are two of my absolute favorites!



aspiringkennedy November 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

@jeremydaggett That’s pretty similar to a @jamieoliver recipe for roasted chicken I love. May have to stick to it. #simple #HUEthanksgiving


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