Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Perfect Roast Chicken

What is the perfect method to roast a perfect chicken?

Every once in awhile (ok, often) I like to pull out a bunch of recipe books and see how everyone handles a simple ingredient or process. I love the maxims that contradict, the "way my mother taught me"s, the traditions, the Way Things Ares,  the certainty that though there may be other ways, theirs is truly the best, most authentic, the most PERFECT way. On a cool Sunday I pulled out Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater, Jamie Oliver, I know how to cook, Silver Spoon, Joy of Cooking and Les Halles, looking for inspiration for my roast chicken.

I mean, I know how to roast a chicken. Clearly. I love the simplicity of a roast chicken. It seems like it should be a lot of work, it's impressive on some level. But really you just massage it with some fat, season it with some tasty stuff and toss it in the oven until it's not pink. Hardly rocket science.

But the Les Halles book by Anthony Bourdain was a bit more involved and I decided to (mostly) follow his instructions. Herb butter massaged in underneath the skin, herbs and lemon tucked up inside. The way he cooks his chicken though is my new favourite way to cook my chicken.

The oven gets pre heated to 375F/190C and you place the chicken inside the oven with a half cup of white wine in the pan. Baste occasionally and move the chicken about in the oven. Then you CRANK the oven up to 450F/230F and cook for another 25 minutes.

Leave it to rest and then carve up. It was the juiciest, most fragrant roast chicken, with the crispiest best skin I have ever made. And I don't usually like the skin. So this will be my new go to method for roasting a chicken until my next bout of curiosity leads me to something new.


Vincent said...

That sounds lovely! I never roasted a chicken putting fat (butter) between the meat and skin although it's a known technique and sounds great. I definitely have to get going with this one.

One question: how long do you roast your chicken at the lower temperature?

Leah Bevington said...

The chicken roasts on the lower temperature for about 40 minutes.