From Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home…
I confess to a love-hate relationship with roasted chicken: Love to eat it, hate to make it, because some recipes that promised “the best roast chicken you’ll ever eat” gave me only grievance instead. Here are two examples. One famous recipe calls for blasting the bird in a 500F oven, which made an unbelievable mess, set off every smoke alarm in the house, and left a lingering smell of roast chicken for days. I also fell for a recipe that insisted the best way to roast a chicken is to first sear it in a frying pan, and then move it into a hot oven. That method resulted in both the stove AND the oven covered in oily splatter. I dealt with it in the hope of “… the best ever“, but… it wasn’t.
Every recipe in Keller’s book makes me want to jump to the kitchen to start working on it, so I couldn’t resist his take on roast chicken. I’m glad that I didn’t, it was simple to prepare and finished with a happy ending. This recipe is a full meal in itself: you’ll have a nice roast chicken, crispy and moist, with a bonus side dish accompanying it. It was satisfying home-cooking at its best.
(para receita em portugues, clique aqui)
ROAST CHICKEN WITH ROOT VEGETABLES
(adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc)
1 whole chicken, preferably organic (4 – 4.5 pounds)
2 cloves garlic, mashed
fresh thyme sprigs
salt and pepper
12 small yellow or red new potatoes
1/3 cup canola oil
4 T butter at room temperature or 2 T duck fat
If you are particularly fond of crispy skin, leave the bird uncovered in the fridge for a couple of days. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1.5 hours before roasting (important step, don’t skip it).
Heat the oven to 475F.
Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper, add the garlic, 4 thyme sprigs, and the lemon half in the cavity. For a nicer presentation, truss the chicken (see how to do it here, but you may omit this step if you prefer – read my comments).
Cut the rutabagas and turnips in similar sized pieces, about 3/4 inch wedges. Cut the carrots in half crosswise and again lengthwise. Keep the young potatoes whole, or, if they are a bit too big cut them in half. Place all veggies in a large bowl, add 1/4 cup of canola oil, 2-3 thyme sprigs, salt, pepper, and toss well. Transfer them to a roasting pan, make a small space in the center to place the chicken. Rub the remaining canola oil all over the skin of the chicken, seasoning it again with salt and pepper.
Just before roasting, add pats of butter over the breast, or brush with some duck fat (it gives a deeper flavor to the chicken,).
Roast at 475F for 25 minutes, lower the temperature to 400F and roast for 1 hour, but check the internal temperature after 45 minutes, if it reaches 160F remove the chicken from the oven. Allow the chicken to rest under an aluminum foil tent for 20 minutes before carving.
A few minutes before serving, place the roasting dish on the stove and heat the vegetables, moving them around to coat with the juices accumulated during roasting.
to print the recipe, click here
Jump for final comments and additional photos
The veggies are cut…
Placed in the bowl with oil, salt, and pepper…
Everything ready for the oven….
To truss or not to truss? Opinions are divided on this one. Many chefs and cooks prefer to roast the bird un-trussed, claiming that you get a bigger amount of crispy skin that way. When you truss the chicken, the skin between the thighs and the body doesn’t get a chance to crisp up. Normally, I don’t truss, but this time I decided to follow Keller’s method.
My main modification was to include half a lemon in the cavity, and rubbing the skin with duck fat instead of butter, a trick I learned a long, long time ago watching David Rosengarten on FoodTV’s ‘Taste”. He actually used goose fat, but duck fat works equally well, in my humble opinion.
Voila’! Time for dinner!