Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thomas Keller's Roasted Chicken, our version

DH and I make this chicken maybe once a month and it is SO yummy, and relatively simple to do. It's our variation on chef Thomas Keller's simple roasted chicken.

First we brine the chicken. This adds a lot of great flavor to the chicken. Here is Cook's Illustrated's info on brining and how it works.


1 two to three pound whole chicken, thawed

2 cups filtered water
1 cup Kosher salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
ice and more filtered water

Remove your thawed chicken from the package and take out the giblets from the cavity (if there are any). Mix all of the brine ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove, stirring occasionally. You want the sugar and salt to be mostly dissolved. Pour the brine mixture into a large container that is big enough to completely submerge the chicken in the brine. Don't add your chicken while the brine is still hot! Add a few handfuls of of ice to the brine to cool it down. Once the brine is cool, place the chicken in the container. Add more filtered water until it comes just above the chicken. Wiggle the chicken a little bit making sure some brine gets into the cavity. Cover and place in the fridge for at least a few hours. Don't let your chicken brine for much longer than 8 to 10 hours as it can become too salty.

I usually brine the chicken around lunchtime so we can eat around 7 or 8pm.


Your brined whole chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1 yellow onion
4 medium red potatoes
A couple handfuls of baby carrots
(you can do any kind of veggies you like with chicken, zucchini, squash, etc.)

Preheat the over to 450 degrees F.

Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse it in the sink. Pat it dry... both inside the cavity and out, with lots and lots of paper towels. You want it to be as dry as possible. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Sprinkle salt and pepper into the cavity, then truss the bird. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. It helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a prettier roasted bird. Don't know how to truss a chicken? Here's a video.

Now, rain salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). Season to taste with pepper.

Roughly chop the onion. Wash the potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes. Pour the onion, potatoes and baby carrots into a roasting pan, evenly covering the bottom. Place the chicken on top. The juices from the chicken will add flavor & fat to the veggies. When the oven is at temperature, place the roasting pan in the oven. Roast until it's done, 50 to 60 minutes. We usually use a probe thermometer that stays in the bird and dings when the bird reaches a desired temperature. If your bird starts to brown on top a little too soon or too much, loosely covering it with aluminum foil can slow the browning process.

Remove it from the oven and baste the chicken in the juices. Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a cutting board to rest for 15 minutes. Don't remove the thermometer probe yet! Put the pan with the veggies back in the oven for a few minutes until they turn whatever desired brown-ness you'd like.

After the chicken has rested, remove the thermometer probe (if you used one), carve and serve.

It's yummy all by itself, but we usually add a dijon mustard to our plates. I love the sweet/hot mustard from Trader Joe's. I like to serve it with with a simple tossed salad and a dry white or rosé wine.

Here's the one we made the other night:

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