Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ode to Roast Chicken

With another chicken day coming up at the farm on Saturday, I wanted to share with you my favorite roast chicken recipe and why I think a roast chicken is one of the most versatile and stretchable meals to have in your repertoire.

Roast chicken is so simple.  I have taken Thomas Keller's Simple Roast Chicken recipe and simplified it even further. You need only a plump chicken that is patted dry, salt it inside and out, plop it in a pan and shove it in a 450 degree oven.  That's it!  A 3 pound chicken takes 1 hour.  4 pounds takes 75 minutes.  5 pounds, 90.

It comes out perfect every time.  It is foolproof, simple and goes down easy!

I carve it and serve it with whatever is in season or catches my fancy at the market.  This time it was roast potatoes and lightly steamed Brussels.  Ooooh, the drumstick is my favorite part, especially when it is hot out of the oven.  Sometimes one of them doesn't even make it to the serving platter.

Nothing is wasted when I roast a chicken.  I carve up the rest of the meat and pop the bones in the freezer for stock. I always thought stock was something difficult and chef-y but it isn't.  It's roasted bones, vegetable scraps, herbs, seasoning and water simmered all day, strained, skimmed, divided into containers and frozen.  Sure you need to watch it, but the hands on time is really very little.

This particular chicken was transformed into roasted vegetable and wild rice soup the next day.  I roasted confetti squash and carrots that I seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh thyme leaves.

Saving all my scraps for the next batch of stock, of course!

Then sauteed up a bunch of mushrooms.

And simmered some wild rice...

I used the stock from the freezer, simmered it on the stove and added the leftover roast chicken meat, the roasted veggies, mushrooms, wild rice and a dribble of cream and served up a hearty bowl of delicious soup. 


  1. Now that I done wiping the drool off my chin! Whew - that looks delicious. We just had a slow roasted chicken last night - rubbed with basil, garlic and lemon. It was divine! I have never made my own stock (I was too intimidated) but you make it sound easy - so next time I roast a chicken,I will give it a go! Thanks for the food porn pics - so colorful!

  2. Rochelle, stock is simple, give it a go. After simmering all day, let it cool, strain the solids and pop in the fridge overnight. That way you can skim it easily. If you have any questions, shoot me an e-mail!

  3. That is astoundingly simple. The only problem is that my husband doesn't actually salt his food and both of us want to keep our salt consumption to a minimum. I'll have to think about this one--it looks so good and we buy great, free-range, hormone-free chickens, so we're ready to rock and roll!

  4. what pan do u use to roast ur chicken in? looks like heaven.

  5. New Me~ it looks like much more salt than it actually is. Maybe just a tablespoon of coarse kosher salt for the whole chicken, which is at least 6 servings.

    Jamie~ I use a small square pan (brownie pan) or a small baking tray. The smaller the pan, the less spatter and easier the clean up. The farm chickens are very lean but a factory chicken will have fattier skin and can make a big mess in a very hot oven, even a small, high sided, oven safe skillet can work.

  6. Wow, that looks amazing. My friend most recently started making his own stock, I was always in awe until I watched him and I was like pshhh I can SO do that!

    New follower!

  7. Love that recipe. I have made it many times and it is delicious and foolproof! Chef Keller's suggestion to mix mustard/thyme as a dip is also great, too.