Last year I became a little obsessed with roasting chickens. I tried tons of recipes, learned how to take the back bone out, quarter and truss a chicken. Most of it was helpful but, ease is important to me. I love to cook, but do it with a reckless abandon- dancing and swirling around the kitchen. I’m a bit sloppy- my dice is suspect, I chop quickly and could care less if all pieces are uniform. I also substitue ingredients with great gusto. My friends and family don’t seem to mind. However, flavor is paramount.  There are tons of recipes out there for roast chicken and most are quite good… This is my favorite. The prep time is minimal, flavor is great, and it’s really quite lovely.  It is from Bouchon by Thomas Keller. I have tweaked it a bit to suit my sensibilities. 

 Simple Roast Chicken

Roast Chicken

One 2- to 3-pound organic chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional) or 1 tsp. dry thyme- try and use fresh, (it really makes a difference)
Dijon mustard

1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes **(feel free to substitue rutabagas, turnips, whatever you’re into)
2 medium red skin potatoes
1 large cast iron skillet

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult and allows the bird to cook evenly and crisply. It also lends a bit of elegance to an otherwise simple dish. I skipped this step for years, and have finally decided that yes, it is worthwhile. After you do it once or twice, you won’t even bat an eye.  Here is a good video to get you started.

Now, salt the chicken liberally. Try and coat the bird uniformly, use about one Tbs. of kosher salt. When it’s cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Frankly I’ve always thought the skin is the best part. I know it’s hight in cholesterol, but we don’t have heart disease in my family. Season with lots of fresh ground pepper.

Peel the sweet potato and cut into eighths. Place these flat side down on the bottom of a large cast iron skillet. Cut the red potatoes into quarters. Place on the bottom of skillet as well. Place the trussed chicken chicken on top of the potatoes breast side up and put skillet in the oven. Leave it alone, don’t baste just let it roast for 50- 60 minutes.  Remove it from the oven and add the thyme to the skillet. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

Remove the twine and cut it anyway you’d like. I like to serve this with a spoonful of dijon mustard, some dark greens, and a few of the potatoes from the pan. The potatoes should be soft and crispy.  

***Make sure and freeze the carcass to make chicken broth at a later date 

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