Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thomas Keller’s Roasted Chicken

Nobody does roasted chicken better than Thomas Keller.  I have loved his Bouchon cookbook for years and I just got Ad Hoc at Home for Christmas.  One of my goals for 2011 is to perfect my roasted chicken techniques.  It is such a delicious and simple dinner.  I have included a video of Thomas Keller explaining the simple genius of his method.  It is helpful, although I had to watch it about 6 times before I figured out how to remove the wishbone.  If you can’t figure out how to do it, don’t worry- you can just carve it the normal way instead of slicing the whole thing in half. 

This is a really great one-dish meal and the vegetables can be substituted based on what you have on hand.  I highly recommend the turnips though- I think they are underrated and deserve more praise.  Because the ingredients are so simple, seasoning is very important.  Don’t be shy with the salt, and season all of the components.

Roasted Chicken on a Bed of Root Vegetables
makes 4 servings
One 4- 4 ½ lb free range, organic chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground peper
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
5 thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons thyme, minced
2 large leeks
4 turnips, peeled and cut into ½ inch squares
4 medium carrots, cut into ½ inch matchsticks
1 small yellow onions, trimmed, leaving root end intact and cut into quarters
8 small red-skinned potatoes, halved
8 Brussels sprouts, halved
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chives, minced
Fleur de Sel (or kosher salt)

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until it comes to room temperature. 

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  Remove the neck and innards if they are still in the cavity of the chicken.  Using a paring knife, cut out the wishbone from the chicken (see this video for instructions).  Generously season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper, add 3 of the garlic cloves and the 5 sprigs of thyme and massage the inside of the bird to infuse it with the flavors.  Truss the chicken with kitchen twine (see video). 
Cut off the dark green leaves from the top of the leeks.  Trim off and discard any darkened outer layers.  Slice the leeks lengthwise, keeping the root end intact.  Rinse well under water (see picture below).  Cut off the root end and cut ½ inch slices at a 45 degree angle. 
Combine all the vegetables, the remaining garlic cloves, and 2 tablespoons of minced thyme in a large bowl.  Toss with ¼ cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the vegetables in a large skillet or roasting pan.

Rub the remaining oil all over the chicken, season generously with salt, pepper, and thyme.  Nestle the chicken on top of the vegetables.  Put the chicken in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 400 degrees and roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until the temperature registers 160 degrees in the meatiest portions of the bird (the thighs) and juices run clear. 

Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 20 minutes.  Just before serving, set the pan of vegetables over medium heat and reheat the vegetables, turning them and glazing them with the pan juices.  Cut the chicken into serving pieces, arrange over the vegetables and sprinkle with chives and fleur de sel or kosher salt.

Ready for the oven

Cleaning the leeks

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