Golden GoodiePosted: September 2, 2010
One of my favourite things to eat and cook is the roast chicken. I love how versatile it is and how you can add on to it with whatever you have in your fridge or according to your whim and fancy. I like mine pretty classic with carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes and shallots. The shallots are my favourite secret ingredient and they’re so good roasted with their skin on; soft and mushy, translucent and beautifully caramelized.
In my years of roasting chickens, I’ve never bothered trussing them. I just never thought to and always assumed it was difficult until I saw this video on Ruhlman’s blog and it was so easy I almost slapped myself on the forehead in a major “D’OH!” moment.
This is the video on Ruhlman’s post on how to truss a chicken:
Coupled with the fact that one of my favourite episode of No Reservations ever, where Bourdain talks of cooking techniques (and I’m positive I’ve talked about it here before too) had the great Thomas Keller talking about his method of roasting a chicken, I knew I had to truss my chicken.
Thomas Keller on No Reservations:
I also mentioned the Bouchon cookbook, where Thomas Keller describes the food at Bouchon and why the roast chicken is one of his favourite foods. Who could blame him, really? After watching him make a roast chicken on No Reservations, I was actually dying to dive into my screen to get a bite of that chicken. It was so perfectly golden and crispy!
I was a woman on a mission to make the perfect roast chicken!
So I heeded the advice of Thomas Keller. I tempered my chicken. I took it out of the freezer at midnight the night before to thaw so it was perfectly thawed and at room temperature when I was ready to cook it the next day at 6 p.m. I wasn’t worried about it going bad, it’s still wintery cold over here.
I then obsessively patted the chicken dry inside and out. I diligently removed the wishbone as advised and found it popped out almost effortlessly. I stuffed the cavity with a few sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper. I trussed the chicken and got it down perfect on my first try.
“Hey, this IS easy!” I thought to myself in surprise.
I liberally coated the chicken with salt, pepper and fresh thyme leaves. I popped it into a 220˚C oven for an hour, and popped it out. I gasped in delight at the beauty of my first evenly golden roast chicken.
I let it sit for 15 minutes before carving into it. I admired it for the 15 minutes it sat on my wooden chopping board.
Look at that perfect crispy skin! I was positively salivating watching the chicken rest. I was getting impatient about the resting period but I knew it was necessary.
Then I carved it, and served it atop some roasted vegetables and drizzled some of the pan juices over the chicken and vegetables.
And I ate it. My eyes widened in surprise. My tastebuds rejoiced. My heart fluttered. My brain cheered fanatically for Thomas Keller. I patted myself on the back for executing this so well. Crispy skin, moist and juicy insides, perfectly cooked. No red bones, no pink flesh, NOTHING. And the carving was so easy with the wishbone gone. No hairy bits. No struggles to sink my knife into the carcass of the chicken and covering myself and my counter with oil.
It was so good that when I had friends over for dinner less than a week later and they requested a roast chicken, I happily obliged. This time it was two chickens at the same time with a mountain of vegetables. I was up for the challenge despite having to rush to put the meal on the table after uni.
I decided to spruce it up a little. I stuffed butter under the skin (and pathetically ripped it in my haste!).
I chopped up a lot of vegetables, seasoned it, mixed in some rosemary and thyme, added some bay leaves, and liberally doused it in extra virgin olive oil.
I patted the chickens dry. I stuffed it with rosemary and thyme. I trussed it. I seasoned the top of it, added some fresh thyme leaves and some crushed garlic cloves.
And I made sure I used good salt.
It popped out of the oven after an hour to the deep sniffs of my friends and cries of, “Oh God, it smells so good in here!”
To be honest, I can’t decide if I liked it more or less with the butter under the skin, or if it even made a difference. I’m going with not really so I’m going to skip that out next time.
The best part about making roast chicken? There’s always plenty of leftovers for the next day and I looooove them even more then. It’s strange but I love them (and the vegetables) cold. It’s so good.
Oh, who am I kidding? I’d eat roast chicken every day of the week; hot or cold, and would never complain.