a home cook with notions & an appetite
Test chicken #5 is a two-fer. Not only is it part of my roasted chicken hunt, but it also comes from the ad hoc cookbook. That’s right, I’m a cooking multitasking fool. This was yet another fun method that required a trip to YouTube. When I became this dependent on the internets to learn things, I cannot tell you. Although I can tell you how bemused the teens I volunteer with are when I tell them of the world before the internet and how one used to do term papers using index cards. They laughed thinking I’d made up the index card method for grins.
Keller’s chicken is a full meal, but it’s still pretty simple and could be done in an hour and a half on a weeknight if you have decent knife skills and you have someone who gets home earlier than you take the chicken out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for an hour or two before hand. Keller’s very big on the room-temp meat thing, as it’s a way to ensure even cooking and accurate cooking times with recipes.
You’ve probably guessed that there’s a chicken in the recipe, but these were my full ingredients:
So that YouTube video I was talking about? This was to watch Keller remove the wishbone from the chicken:
What I’d done was scrape a knife along where the whishbone was located so I could basically wriggle my fingers in there and pull the wishbone out by hand. Go ahead, watch Keller do this in 4 seconds. His comes out whole. Mine took significantly longer and didn’t come out whole. But it came out! And it does make the chicken incredibly easy to carve when you’re done. Once this is done, I salted and peppered, the cavity, threw in 3 garlic cloves and 5 thyme sprigs and massaged it all around before trussing the bird. This is the first trussed bird we did, for the record. Along with the first wishbone-ectamy for that matter.
While I started vegetable prep, the oven was preheating to 475 degrees. During this time, there was much chopping:
The leeks were trimmed, cut nearly in half and rinsed in warm water. I had an extremely large rutabaga that stood in for the 3 smaller ones (it was gargantuan) and it was peeled, trimmed, sliced and cut into 3/4″ wedges. The turnips went through a similar treatment. Potatoes were rinsed since they were small. Carrots were prepped as per the ingredient list.
All of the vegetables were tossed in a large bowl with 1 thyme sprig, 3 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup of oil and salt and pepper. Keller seemed to think this would fit in a cast-iron skillet, but I must have had a crazy large amount of vegetables, so I switched to a roasting pan. Once the veggies were in, I nestled the bird in them, rubbed the remaining oil over the bird and seasoned it with salt and pepper. All that was left to do was put the butter all over the breast:
I know, nutrition and a lot of butter. Goodness. Into the 475 degree oven this went for 25 minutes. At that time, I reduced the heat to 400 and the theory was that I’d roast it for 45 more minutes until the thigh hit 160. It actually took 60 minutes. There was an additional 20 minute rest, so perhaps my hour and a half with good knife skills is more like 2 hours, but this was always something I found I didn’t like with trussed birds. They just seemed to take longer to cook.
Taste, on the other hand, was terrific. Juicy and tender, and parts of the skin were definitely crispy. The root vegetables were just slathered in chicken juices, oil and butter so you know that was good. So good, I took it to work as lunch two days running, in fact. Just the vegetables. I swear. Keller didn’t knock Alton out of “best chicken” at this point, but he made a very good run and showed me an awesome trick when it came to cutting out the wishbone.