I was skeptical that such a simple process could produce moist, full of flavor roasted chicken. No longer. I think the secret is making sure to dry the chicken well, the salting (I use Diamond Kosher), and a tip I picked up from one of the comments on the recipe to let the dry, salted chicken sit uncovered in the refrigerator for at least a half hour, more if you can spare the time. It’s a simple dry brining, a process I’ve not had much experience with. As you can see from the photo, the chicken looks pretty when it comes out of the oven. I did follow Keller’s suggestion and add thyme to the pan juices and baste the chicken after it came out of the oven. A dollop of Dijon on the plate turned out to be a good go-with, too. This was the simplest, best roast chicken I’ve ever cooked. This method is a keeper.
Here is the recipe, but be sure to click on the recipe link. Half the usefulness of the Epicurious site is in the comments following each recipe.
My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken recipe | Epicurious.com
Rating 4.0/4 · Makes 2 to 4 servings · From www.epicurious.com
- 2 teaspoons#2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional) minced thyme
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well 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 if you roast chicken often, it’s a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.
- Now, salt the chicken—I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it’s cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.
- Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone—I don’t baste it, I don’t add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don’t want. Roast it until it’s done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.
- Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I’m cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip—until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook’s rewards. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be superelegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You’ll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it’s so good.