Oh boy, oh boy. Are you in for a real treat with Thomas Keller’s Roasted Chicken recipe. Not only is the chicken moist, tender, and the skin ridiculously flavorful and crispy, but it takes barely any work to come together. That’s right, barely any work. There is absolutely not one iota of basting. Once it goes into the oven, you forget about it until the timer dings.
Simple Prep + Stunning Results = Recipe Staple. I literally roast two chickens every 10 days using this method.
What I love even more about this recipe is that for 15 minutes of prep work I get a roasted chicken for dinner, two carcasses and some meat for a stunning chicken soup (from which I make chicken soup ice cubes to use in Quick & Healthy Toddler food recipes), and additional cooked chicken that I use for toddler snacks and as the main protein for one or two quick to prep meals later in the week (I highly recommend Kimchi Fried Rice).
Honestly, even in 90+ degree weather, it is worth turning your oven on for these babies.
THE BEST ROASTED CHICKEN from Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken
- Prep Time: 10-15 min
- Cook & Rest Time: 75 -105 min
- roasting chicken (3-5lb, get the best quality you can afford, especially if you are going to make chicken soup with the carcasses)
- sea salt
- black pepper
- 4′ cooking twine
- chopped fresh thyme (optional)
- Pre-heat your oven to 450°F.
- Pull out the pan you are going to roast the chicken in. (A lot of juices will collect at the bottom, so I recommend something at least 3″ deep.) Place a single layer of paper towels across the bottom of the pan so the towels hang over about 18″ on either side. Pull out a few more paper towels and place off to the side, but within arm’s reach. Cut a 4′ piece of twine and put it somewhere that is easily accessible with chicken covered hands. (You may want to open and check out the Visual Guide to Trussing a Chicken if you don’t know how to properly truss.) Put about 2 Tbsp of sea salt in a small bowl and about 1 Tbsp of pepper in another.
- Ready to touch the chicken? Great. Remove the innards. Either save for something else or discard. Your choice.
- Rinse the chicken inside and out and then place in the pan on top of the paper towels. Cover the chicken with the draping paper towels. Now, grab the paper towels you placed off to the side and shove them into the chicken cavity. Start drying the sucker inside and out as best as you can. You want a super dry chicken. Keller’s theory is that the drier the uncooked chicken, the juicer the cooked chicken (less steam = drier heat). When that chicken is good and dry, throw out the paper towels.
- Salt and pepper the cavity.
- Grab your twine and truss your bird.
- Salt the entire outside of the chicken with about 1 Tbsp of sea salt. You want to be able to see the salt crystals. This will make for a lovely crispy skin.
- Pepper the entire outside to taste and set the chicken breast side up in the pan.
- Wash your hands.
- Place chicken in the preheated oven and leave to cook until done which is usually about 60-90 minutes, checking the thigh with a meat thermometer in 5 to 10 minute intervals after 60 minutes. You want a reading over 160°F. (I do two 4lb birds and it takes me 80 minutes. After you cook it once, you can use that cooking time for future reference and forgo the multiple readings.)
- Pull from the oven, add the thyme to the bottom of the pan (if you are using it), and baste the chicken for two minutes with the juices that have gathered at the bottom of the pan, tilting the pan at first to gather the first juices as they are released if necessary.
- Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes. Remove the twine. Carve.
- Serve with a side salad or veggie. Keller recommends slathering with butter or serving with a side of dijon. I simply top off the carved chicken with the pan juices. I don’t think it needs much else.
DON’T DISCARD THE CARCASS OR THE PAN JUICES!!!!
Save the carcass for chicken soup. If you aren’t going to make the soup in the next day or two, place the carcasses (pick them clean of meat first and save separately) in a freezer safe container and freeze until you have 10 minutes to put the crock pot soup together (recipe coming as soon as I can post it!).
Save the pan juices. Normally, I use a spatula to get out every last bit of goodness and store in a small glass container, taking out a spoonful or two within the next 4 days to add to the reheated chicken or to amp up the flavor of a Quick & Healthy Toddler Meal. You can also freeze smaller servings in ice cube trays if you don’t think you will use it all within the 4 day window.