This recipe is as basic as it gets - with just 5 minutes of prep time, you can pull the finished roast chicken out of the oven in roughly 45 minutes. Give it a try! This recipe is based on the simple roast chicken from Bouchon by Thomas Keller.
Cross-reference: How to Truss a Chicken.
Step 1: Gather tools and ingredients
- one chicken
- a paper towel
- large-grain salt (kosher or large-flake sea salt are fine)
- a clean (and cleanable) surface to work on (I use the interior of the butcher paper the chicken came in)
- a piece of clean natural kitchen twine long enough to truss the chicken, at least 30 inches. Use cotton, hemp, etc - nothing that will melt, discolor, or otherwise isn't fit for contact with food and/or heat.
- an oven-proof pot
- an oven
- meat thermometer, preferably instant-read
- soap and water to clean yourself up
- bleach to clean any bits of counter contaminated with raw chicken
- a sharp knife or kitchen shears
- a spoon
Step 2: Preheat oven and pan
Step 3: Dry chicken
We're aiming for crispy skin, and any remaining water will turn into steam. Rather counterproductive, so do a good job toweling off.
Step 4: Salt body cavity
Step 5: Truss chicken
If you've never trussed a chicken before, try it - it's easy, and only takes a minute. I posted a separate trussing Instructable here. If you already know how, grab your twine and truss away.
This step helps create one large thermal mass so the chicken cooks evenly.
Step 6: Salt and pepper chicken
If you want to add other dried herbs and spices, now's a great time. I've had great results with Ethiopian berebere. (if you've got fresh herbs, save them for later.)
Step 7: Drop into hot pan
Step 8: Cook
To test, put your instant-read thermometer in the fleshy bit between thigh and body, and pull the bird out when you get a reading of 155F. (The temperature will rise to about 165F as the bird rests.)
1) Keep your thermometer away from the bones, as they will hold more heat and throw off your readings. Test multiple spots if you're not sure.
2) If the top seems to be drying out, or if you've added extra spices that look to be getting too toasty, it's fine to baste the bird with a spoonful of chicken fat from the pan as necessary, but you probably won't need it.
Step 9: Finish and serve
I generally start eating bits (wings, tail) now, but if you want to be formal:
Baste again, let the bird rest about 10 minutes, then baste once more before serving. It looks gorgeous, so make a big production of carving it at the table!