Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Roast Chicken a la Thomas Keller

On the way home from school, I stopped at a local grocery store to pick up a rotisserie chicken.

My younger daughter said, "You say the chickens are really small here, and they're expensive."

I replied, "Well, I'm not going to drive to Costco to get a cheaper chicken."

But when I went into the deli section and found my hand hovering over the $7.99 miniscule, wrinkly chicken, I knew that my wise daughter was right. She knows me very well.

I came out with a farm-raised, no antibiotics whole chicken.

What a great opportunity to try out Thomas Keller's legendary roast chicken, which uses only salt, pepper, thyme, and a 450 degree oven. It cooks under an hour.

Whoa, this chicken is divine! A must try. Crispy. Succulent. Delicious.

I served it with pommes frittes (well, they were frozen Ore-Ida french fries aspiring to be pommes frittes - :)), leftover pan-grilled vegetables, and a gravy I made from the pan juices.

Kitty also got a gourmet meal out of the chicken liver in the giblets package, which were simmered with peas and orzo and then ground into a yummy cat mash.

Kitty reading Thomas Keller's Bouchon Cookbook, which I got for my birthday.

A few notes from the cook:

1) An organic or farm-raised chicken is a must, 3 lbs. max. Those mega-brands pump liquid into the chickens, and the natural chicken tastes much better.

2) A dry chicken is a crispy chicken. Make sure you super dry the chicken off.

3) Don't skimp on the salt. A good amount of kosher salt (1 tbs. or a little more) is needed to flavor the whole chicken.

4) Be prepared for your oven to need a run of the self-cleaning cycle after you make this spatter-inducing chicken.

Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken

One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced, or 1 tsp. dried thyme

Rinse the chicken, then dry it very, very well with paper towels, inside and out. Let the chicken sit out for 20-30 minutes before roasting, so that it gets to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Generously salt the chicken with kosher salt, inside and out. Remember that the salt needs to flavor the whole chicken. If you're using dried thyme, sprinkle thyme on the chicken and rub it in with the salt. Season with freshly ground pepper.

Truss the bird and put on a rack. (I used a silicone rubber band to tie the legs and then I put crumpled aluminum foil under the sides of the bird, which helped push the wings against the body. The foil also acted as an impromptu rack.) Put it in a roasting pan.

Roast it until it's done, 50 to 60 minutes. When it's done, the chicken will register 155 degrees with an instant thermometer between the thigh and leg. When it rests, it will reach a temperature of 165 degrees.

Remove it from the oven. Baste the bird several times with the juices. If you're using fresh thyme, add it to the juices before you baste the bird. Let it rest 15 minutes.

Cut and serve.


Ramona said...

Now I know what we'll have for dinner this weekend. When I cook a chicken, I normally use salt, pepper and some dijon mustard, but this time I'll try the thyme. I just slaughtered a nice 3 pound chicken that would be perfect for this recipe. Thanks for posting.

La Table De Nana said...

That's a great shot of your TK chicken..Like an ad:)

Sippity Sup said...

This is EXACTLY the way my mother taught me to make chicken "hot and dry". I had no idea it was also Thomas Kellers. I have his French Laundry Cookbook now I must get this one. GREG

Ninette said...

Hey Greg, I should mention the recipe in the Bouchon cookbook is not the same as what I did. The one in the cookbook is more the restaurant version, with a brine, etc.

E. Lee said...

The most beautiful post on Tastespotting today, for sure. Congrats on the link, and on having such a wise daughter. ;)

Patsyk said...

That is a gorgeous roast chicken! I love that it cooks quickly! It makes it so easy to do this at home rather than pay for over-priced rotisserie chickens.

Anonymous said...

I love whole roasted chicken - my store routinely carries Purdue's chickens for .99 a pound - but I do tend to buy the biggest one - with the leftover chicken I make chicken enchiladas, then use the carcass to make chicken noodle soup.

Thanks for this recipe - I'll have to check out that cookbook from my library! :D

Ninette said...

I just made soup out of the carcass for lunch. Wise daughter and I have been home sick for two days, maybe with the oink oink flu.

Anderburf said...

This looks really good and perfect for a fall dinner! I just got some organic pepper and Himalayan sea salt from Sustainable Sourcing and I think I'll try them both out in this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

~~louise~~ said...

Just popped in from Food Rave. I enjoyed my visit immensely. Your chicken recipes sounds most appetizing and it looks, dazzling!!!

Thank you for sharing, I have to go now but, Bookmarked!!!

So funny word verification is foodly:)

Jaye Joseph said...

Oh wow! This is my absolute favorite recipe. I make this at least once every couple of weeks. My chickens are usually tiny, around the 2lb. mark, and I swear, I could easily eat the whole thing myself in a sitting!

Deniz Bevan said...

Ah, your kitty likes peas too, does he? :-)))

daisygirl849 said...

Do you cover the pan when putting in the oven??? I need specific directions :)Thank you

Ninette said...

Hey Daisy Girl. No, you don't have to cover it with anything. Just put it in a roasting pan and cook away. Note that it will make a mess of your oven, but it's worth it.

cindy said...

I just found your blog after typing in TK roasted chicken. I decided to try his way after perfecting my chickens the Julia child way. I couldnt get this chicken to turn a "beautiful brown". It did taste great.
It must have been the chicken because I had minimal juices. I did make a great pan sauce though.
I loved your comment about having to clean the oven afterwards. I set my smoke detector off for the first time in 2 years.
I am going to bookmark your blog.

Ninette said...

Cindy, thanks for stopping by and trying TK's chicken out. I'm surprised the skin didn't turn brown. Did you dry it off beforehand? Glad it tasted good!

cindy said...

I did. ( learned that from julia)
It sat out to room temp, salted, hot hot oven. I have only been able to get that gorgeous look with basting, but it was moist and tasty, and I dont eat the skin anyway. There is always another chicken in my future. I make a roasted chicken once a week.