Monday, November 22, 2010

Thomas Keller's AMAZING Roasted Chicken

The plan was to have an excellent picture of my perfectly golden chicken, in all it's crispy-skinned glory.  But with the daylight being what it is these days, I can't get my act together in time to cook and have any light available for a decent photo.  So, here's all that's left as any evidence that a spectacular meal was had here last night.
In my past chicken - roasting life, before I discovered this life-changing recipe, I would shove various complex compound butters under the skin, stuff the cavity with onions or lemons and garlic, or all 3.  Then I'd season the bird lightly and place on a roasting pan, carefully lined with tin foil.  In the end, I did have a delicious chicken, no doubt.  I mean, it was really good.  But now, after roasting the bird Thomas Keller's way, (hello, it's Thomas Keller!), I can not believe I got away with the old way.  It's unbelievable how. much. better. this is and it's SO MUCH EASIER.  Do I have your attention?

 According to Thomas Keller, chicken cooks best in a dry environment, so pat the chicken dry inside and out and rain salt all over it, inside and out, don't be shy! (I do this hours before I actually cook the chicken).  It turns out that all that fancy butter under the skin and filling the cavity with stuff makes for steam later, meaning the chicken won't crisp up or cook evenly.  (I always wondered why it took so damn long for the bird to cook when I filled the cavity - the new way ensures a perfectly cooked chicken at about 60 minutes in a 450 oven).  In the end, the skin should crackle and the meat should impart a perfectly sublime hint of salt.  When the chicken comes out of the oven, drop into the chicken juices the fresh thyme and then baste the chicken a few times with this infused fat, err, juice.  Let the bird rest a good 15 minutes on a cutting board before you even consider cutting into it.  (Actually, you are instructed to immediately eat the middle wing meat, Oh My God sooo good!).

From Thomas Keller via Bon Appetit

One 2-3 lb Organic, farm raised chicken
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
2 tsp fresh thyme (optional)

Preheat oven to 450.
Rinse the chicken, then pat dry with paper towels, inside and out.
Salt and pepper the cavity, and then truss the legs together with cooking twine.
Now, rain salt all over the bird, about 1 TBLS total.
Place the chicken in a saute pan or roasting pan and put it in the oven.  Leave it alone until it's done.  (About one hour.)
Remove from the oven and if using thyme, place in the pan and then baste the chicken with the juices and the thyme.
Place on a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes.

Read Mr. Keller's full recipe here .  It's a short and very descriptive narrative, some butchering tips and serving suggestions. 

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