There were a few smattering doubts when a day or two of cool-ish weather rolled in, but we are in the thick of summer right now. Fans are blowing, afternoon getaways for gelato are required and a slow walk to the local beer palace in the evening as an escape from our hot apartment for something cold and lemony helps to quell the heat. I know, I wish this was a post for some hand-cranked ice cream or an icy tayberry limeade, but I’ve got roast chicken. But this roast chicken is amazing. And easy. Ideal to take to any lakeside picnic and oh so perfect with a chopped salad dressed with ranch.
This recipe comes from the dude who cooks at The French Laundry and while you think there might be a high snob factor with this meal, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Get yourself an organic chicken please, take out the salt and pepper and pull some fresh thyme from your garden. Got it? Good. Simple right? Well, there’s one more step…and it involves kitchen twine for a little chicken dance between you and the bird. It’s called trussing. I wish I could tell you it’s a quick one-two step, but for me it involved a YouTube video, a helping hand from my husband and maybe a cuss word or two. Between our 4 hands, we got the chicken trussed up and looking good enough for a night out on the town.
Once you’ve got the bird trussed, the living is easy, as they say. There’s no fussing or basting required. Just pop the thing in the oven and forget about it until the scent coming from your kitchen induces some heavy drooling. The skin will be crisp and flavourful and the meat will be moist. This is a seriously amazing meal and the standard that all other roast chickens will be judged by. There is no doubt that you’ll be licking your fingers and smiling the whole time.
bouchon’s simple roast chicken
1 2-3lb organic, farm-raised chicken
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
1 T fresh thyme
1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Rinse and dry the chicken very well, inside & out. You don’t want the chicken to steam, so patting down all the liquid is important, so you can have dry heat instead of steam.
2. Truss the chicken. Follow this YouTube video for instructions. Trussing makes for a beautiful presentation and keeps the bird moist.
3. Sprinkle the bird with salt. Thomas Keller recommends a tablespoon’s worth, but I did a tiny bit less. Season with pepper.
4. Place the chicken in a roasting dish or a cast iron pan and roast for 50-60 minutes or until done. No need to baste or fuss. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle the bird with the fresh thyme. Baste with the pan juices and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving. Remove the twine, dig in and smile.