Today’s recipe comes from the man, the myth, the great Chef Thomas Keller. I’ve been seeing his recipe for simple roast chicken around the internet for a while now, but haven’t been able to test it out. Actually, that’s not true. I tried one night but due to a melting string incident, we had to chuck it out. Well, tonight I had real twine and put it to the test.
The secret behind Keller’s recipe is that he gets the bird super, super dry. For me, it involved lots of paper towels and some cold hands trying to get those pesky chunks of ice out of the cavity of the chicken. Once that was achieved, I put the other two ingredients on: a good amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. The reason the skin is so delicious and crispy is because you put that dry chicken into a 450 degree oven! That’s quite high, but gives you the tastiest, simplest chicken ever. Plus, while the skin is crisp, the meat is moist as can be. You have to take into account a couple of factors, however: his recipe calls for a 2-3 pound chicken. Now, I don’t have a lot of luck finding chickens that small in my local grocery store. I did make sure to buy an organic, farm raised one, but they’re all about 4-6 pounds. If this is the case with you, just cook it a while longer. This is when your handy-dandy meat thermometer will be essential. Stick it in to your chicken, making sure not to touch any bones, and when it registers 160-165, take it out. It’s okay if you’re a couple of degrees under 165, because carry-over cooking will get it those last few degrees. The other really big thing is to let it rest. Don’t cut into your bird to see if it’s done, and definitely don’t start carving it as soon as you take it out of the oven. Give those juices a chance to settle out and distribute in the cooked chicken.
I did put a tiny pad of butter on the chicken after I removed it from the oven for shine and flavor, as well as sprinkling some fresh thyme leaves. But this, hands down, is the best poulet roti I’ve ever had outside of this one little place in Paris that I have never been able to find again (I hate myself right now…oooh Paris, la dee da…but seriously!) Hats off to Mr. Keller. He has proven, once again, that simplicity can be utterly delightful.
My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken Recipe by Thomas Keller