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!