Roast Chicken, a la Keller

I had roasted turkeys previously, but never a chicken.

I found this recipe posted on Epicurious by my one-time ‘adversary’ Thomas Keller (a little personal background: Thomas Keller is essentially a deity of American Cuisine, owing much to his legendary Yountville restaurant, The French Laundry. My Wife & I planned our 4th anniversary around a trip to that restaurant, which disappointed us, to say the least. I know, I know –  get over it, it’s Thomas Keller and TFL for goodness’ sake). 

Let’s be honest, the kitchen probably had an off night and I probably wasn’t worthy of the cuisine anyway at that point in my life (ahem, swallowing pride). Of COURSE a Keller chicken is going to be incredible, and frankly his written description on the Epicurious link had me salivating, literally.

Best of all – it was straight-forward; it’s all about the detail and your eye/experience. This bird came out downright juicy, but I actually wished I had it in longer to crisp up the skin a little bit more. Also, I altered it by utilizing walnut as the finishing oil in lieu of butter or olive oil. I like the flavor, and I hear of chickens eating random walnuts in their natural habitat. It was unobtrusive yet complementary and made the recipe mine (ha – take that, Keller!).



  • 2-3 pound chicken
  • 2 white onions, thickly sliced
  • 1 large shallot, thickly sliced
  • high-quality salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • minced, fresh thyme (optional)
  • olive oil
  • walnut oil


  • preheat oven to 450°.
  • rinse bird, inside & out and pat dry with paper towels.
  • truss the bird, which I did in makeshift fashion. there are many youtube tutorials you can check out.
  • cover chicken thoroughly with salt & pepper. when you think there’s enough salt & pepper, add more. this will ensure a strong crust.
  • place onions & shallots in roasting pan.
  • place bird in roasting pan, on metal grate.
  • roast for 50 minutes and DO not touch. you will want to baste, but believe me – the bird will be fine.
  • at the 50 minute mark peer into your oven if you have a glass window. if the bird is starting to brown/crisp, add the thyme generously. at this point, i basted with the shallot/onion juice from the bottom of the pan, and i’m glad i did. do it fast, though – keep the temperature of the oven high.
  • roast for 10 more minutes BUT if the bird looks done, it is. each oven has its own temperature setting/accuracy, and be careful not to overcook the bird.
  • remove the bird from oven, baste thoroughly (again) and add more thyme and a healthy dollop of walnut oil. let sit for 15 minutes.
  • carve, serve, and devour!

One thought on “Roast Chicken, a la Keller

  1. Sounds easy enough. Maybe I’ll give it a try. Never really enjoyed the process of roasting a whole chicken, or turkey, although I do it once every year with the turkey. Just hate having to clean and wrestle with the bird, you know. But it’s good to master it I suppose. Gotta buy me some walnut oil now! 🙂

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