Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chicken from Yountville

Even though I consider myself a fairly good home cook, there are quite a few big kitchen feats I've never attempted. Baking a ham, cooking a Thanksgiving turkey, making roast beef, these are dishes I've just never made. I guess it is mostly because my family is only two people, and we've never hosted a holiday dinner or a large dinner party due to the small size of our apartment. I've always wanted to though.

I decided to buy a small bird, and try my hand at roasting a a chicken. I figured, roast chicken is pretty easy to re-purpose, so even if we had mountains of leftovers, I could always make chicken salad or chicken noodle soup. Plus, chicken and potatoes make a pretty classic great American dinner, especially when using Thomas Keller's recipe

It came out pretty tasty if I do say so. The skin was buttery and perfectly crisp. The meat was tender and juicy. The meal was out and out delicious and so were the leftovers.

Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken (from Simply Recipes)
Serves 4
  • 1 4.5lb chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 3 medium-sized rutabagas, ends cut and discarded, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 2 medium-sized turnips, ends cut and discarded, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 4 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch segments
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled, cut into quarters
  • 8 small red-skinned new potatoes
  • About 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. 

Use a paring knife to cut away the wishbone from the neck/breast area of the chicken. You will probably have to use your fingers to feel around for it. This is a little bit tricky, but if you can remove the wishbone first, it will make the chicken easier to carve after it is cooked.

Generously season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper. Add three of the garlic cloves and 5 sprigs of the thyme to the cavity, using your hands to rub the thyme and garlic all around the cavity.

Truss the chicken with kitchen string. To do so, start by cutting a 3-foot section of cotton kitchen string. Place the chicken so that it is breast up, and the legs pointing toward you. Tuck the wing tips under the chicken. Wrap the string under the neck end of the bird, pulling the string ends up over the breast, toward you, plumping up the breast. Then cross the string under the breast (above the cavity and between the legs). Wrap each end around the closest leg end, and tie tightly so that the legs come together.

Place the vegetables, onions, garlic, and remaining thyme sprig into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and toss with your hands until well coated. Season generously with salt and pepper. Create a bed of the root vegetables in a large cast iron pan.

Slather the chicken with oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the bed of vegetables and slather the top of the chicken breasts with butter.

Place the pan in the oven and roast the chicken for 25 minutes at 475°F. Then reduce the heat to 400°F and roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until the thickest part of the thigh registers 160°F on a meat thermometer and the juices run clear.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving to serve. You can keep the vegetables warm by keeping them in the now-turned-off oven while the chicken is resting. Stir to coat the vegetables with the cooking juices before serving. Cut the chicken into serving pieces. Place vegetables on a serving platter with the chicken pieces arranged on top.


  1. I've made that recipe before. It's so good! Love how colorful your finished dish is.

  2. I was actually on the look for some recipe in which I could cook the chicken as a whole. Thanks to you, now I know what to cook.