The term perfect has some pretty heavy expectations that come along with it. It implies that there is nothing better, it could not be improved in any way. I’m not one to throw the P-Bomb around lightly. However, I think I have perfected the roasted chicken. Yes, that’s right my friends. I, Laura of sweetersalt.com, have roasted the perfect chicken.
This is actually a technique I’ve been working on for some time. The recipe is based on Thomas Keller’s Favorite Simple Roast Chicken. Though I’ve only eaten at Bouchon Bakery (never Per Se or French Laundry), I have been a fan of his since I interned for his PR firm years ago and became acquainted with his work. If you ever want a wickedly delicious brownie, try your hand at his bouchons.
My recipe takes Keller’s basic idea of a very hot oven, no basting, and plenty of salt and tweaks it a bit with lemon, garlic and rosemary. It’s a pretty easy process and really pays off in the end. You’ll be especially happy when you have leftover roast chicken to use up throughout the week, who doesn’t love that?
The recipe calls for trussing, which I’m kind of meh about. I just took come cotton rope (who needs cooking twine?) and tied the legs together. Then I tucked the wings underneath the bird. This works for me, but if you feel like getting your truss on, do it.
The Perfect Roast Chicken
One 5-7 lb. chicken
1 tbsp. kosher or sea salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1.) Preheat oven to 450*
2.) Prep a slotted baking pan by thoroughly covering the inside dripping pan with aluminum foil. This will prevent a huge mess. However, if you like to make pan gravy, skip the foil. I like to use a slotted pan because it allows the chicken to get crispy on all sides (no floppy bottom – yuck).
3.) Rinse the chicken and dry it well with paper towels, inside and out. Set aside on the pan.
4.) In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, lemon zest and rosemary. Take 1/3 of the mixture and set aside in another small bowl. Add the lemon juice to the 2/3 mixture and combine to a paste.
5.) Take the chicken and create space between the skin and meat with your fingers. I like to really get in there, making sure to hit the thighs (on the under side), drum sticks and breast meat. Take the paste and rub into the spaces you just created. Rub some on the inside as well. Take the leftover 1/3 salt mixture and and sprinkle on the outside of the bird. Place the leftover lemon half and the two crushed garlic cloves inside the cavity.
6.) If you want, truss the bird. If you’re lazy like me, tuck the wings and tie the legs together (like described above).
7.) Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the skin is golden and crispy and the meat is at 170*-180*. Don’t baste it our touch it in any way! I swear, it stays moist and delicious without all the fuss.
8.) Remove from oven and allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before carving.