Friday, January 3, 2014

A Little More Thomas Keller in the Kitchen

A few weeks ago The Husband sent me a link for Buzzfeed's Roast Chicken Tournament. They started with eight Roast Chicken recipes, and as with all Tourneys, there can only be one winner. In this case, it was Thomas Keller. To make it easy for everyone,  they gif'ed snip-it's of him trussing the chicken.

I'm always looking for new recipes, and this one looked delicious and amazingly simple. The key, is a roasting pan and rack. Oddly enough, for all of the kitchen gadgets I do have, a roasting pan/rack was never one of them. We've never had enough people for Thanksgiving over to warrant more than a few Cornish Game Hens, and none of my other recipes made it abundantly clear that I needed one. But if I wanted crispy, delicious chicken, I was going to have to get one.

I went to Target and picked up a lovely Farberware one for $15. And some twine for trussing. Since that was new to me too.

The recipe is INANELY easy. It's only three ingredients! The hardest part is remembering to take the chicken out early so it gets to room temperature. If it's not at room temp when it goes into the oven, it's going to get condensation and make the chicken less juicy. And less crispy on the outside.

The Husband and I loved it. It was so delicious, and by far the best roasted chicken I've ever made. We pulled off the remaining meat and made an awesome chicken salad for lunch the next day and I took the bones and made a stock for Sean Brock's Mom's Chicken and Dumplings (recipe forthcoming). Which was the best stock I've ever made.

So the moral of this whole post is, this chicken is so good, you can enjoy it fresh out of the oven, cold, and even the dregs are fantastic.

I put my stock recipe below.

Ingredients for Roast Chicken:

1 Whole Chicken

Remember to let the chicken come to room temperature before putting it in the oven. Take it out a few hours before.

Do NOT wash your chicken. Washing the chicken get germs everywhere and only makes the chicken wet. It's really a useless activity. Besides, if you're cooking your chicken properly, all germs are going to be killed in the process.

When you're ready to cook it, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. And take a paper towel and make sure that your chicken is dry, on the outside and the inside. If the chicken is dry before it goes into the oven, there will be less condensation, which means less moisture is lost in the roasting process. Also, it really does help make the skin crispy.

Once it's dry, coat your chicken inside and outside generously with Salt and Pepper.

Now comes the trussing fun. If you'd like to see someone do it step by step, watch the Buzzfeed Gif's here. It sounds complicated, it really isn't. I did it in one try. It doesn't have to be perfect, the key is just make sure that the wings and the legs are tight against the bird. Trust me, it doesn't matter if the trussing looks like a hot mess, as long as it's tight.

For the rest of you. Cut 24 inches of twine and lay your chicken, breast side up, on a cutting board with the neck facing  you (legs away from you).  Tuck the wings under the birds armpits.

Put the center of the twine under the tail,  cross the ends and then loop back under the legs. It's going to look kind of like a figure 8 with a line below it. You want to pull the string together, so the legs are tight.

When the legs are tight, flip the chicken over and bring the twine up on the sides of the bird, making sure that the tucked wings are tight against the body.

Pull the twine tight, so that everything is snug and close and tie two knots at the neck.

Throw a little more salt and pepper on the outside of your bird, You want to feel the graininess of the seasoning when you rub your hands over it.

Put the chicken breast side up (this is important) in your rack. And put it in the oven 50-60 minutes. Don't touch it. Don't flip it, don't baste it, just leave it alone. Go have a drink, watch some TV, work out. Ignore the bird in your oven.

When a thermometer reads 165, it's done. Take it out and let it sit for 15 minutes before removing the twine and cutting into it.

Ingredients for Chicken Stock:

Leftover chicken carcass, bones, cartilage, skin, fat, whatever you have, toss it in there.
1 Onion, Chopped
2 Sprigs of Rosemary
5 Sprigs of Thyme
1 Sprig of Sage
2 TSP Salt

Put all ingredients in a stock pot. Add water until the chicken is covered. Put on medium-low heat and cook until liquid reduces and turns a lovely light yellow. About 1.5 to 2 hours.

Strain everything from the stock, place in container and put in freezer or refrigerator until needed.

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