Look at that skin. Just look at it. It is as crackly-salty-tasty as it looks. And the vegetables…oh, the vegetables. As juicy and tender as the chicken comes out, sometimes I find myself looking forward to the veggies even more than the meat! There is nothing better on a winter night than this juicy, whole-roasted chicken with salty, crackly skin on a bed of root vegetables sopping with chicken juice. And there’s nothing like the feeling that you just tackled one of Thomas Keller’s recipes. Thomas Keller, the celebrated and incredibly talented chef who opened French Laundry, Bouchon, Ad Hoc, and a number of other highly regarded eateries. Thomas Keller, the creator of incredibly time-consuming and finicky recipes that no one has the time to cook on a regular basis. Like this one:
When I made his Potatoes Pavé, It took me two days to make it. I’m not even kidding. Yes, it was really quite wonderful to eat, but I haven’t attempted the recipe again since. It’s just too much unhealthy + too much time (but if you’re interested, here’s the recipe!).
So you can see why I was so excited when I heard about an “easy, doable” recipe that Thomas Keller himself enjoyed preparing for his own meals. My friends promised it was a snap to put together, and now that Ben is a trussing master, it really is easy! You simply truss the chicken (tie it up in a bundle), dry it off, season, then stick it in the oven. If you want the vegetables (trust me, you want the vegetables), then it’s just a matter of peeling and cutting, then tossing in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
I will say it takes a bit of practice to get the hang of the trussing bit, which is important to help the chicken stay juicy and cook evenly. We even watched a couple of videos on it before attempting it the first time. However, the fact that we now make this dish a number of times each year goes to show that it’s worthwhile (and it gets easier/faster each time).
Ben and I usually prepare this as a team. Ben preps the chicken while I peel and cut up the vegetables. By the time I have the bed of veggies ready to go, he’s got the chicken trussed and ready. He slowly rotates the chicken as I shower it generously with salt and pepper, and then we pop it all into the oven for about an hour. When it’s done, we wait fifteen mouthwatering minutes for the chicken to rest, and then greedily get into it. It’s always an exciting moment when he cuts into it with the knife, and juice comes spurting out like a fountain of soupy goodness. It’s also exciting taking that first bite into the crispy skin and savoring the crunch and tastiness that follows… yum.
Keller’s Roast Chicken with Roasted Vegetables Recipe
Adapted from these simplyrecipes.com and epicurious.com recipes.
5/13/2014 Edit: We experimented a bit, and this is our new favorite method! I have adjusted a few things (chicken size, cooking time and temperatures).
Save your carcass and bones to make chicken stock!
*”Medium” to me is about the size of my fist. Sometimes I just get one really big turnip or rutabaga, if it’s available.