At the risk of encouraging people to read serial content-reappropriators Buzzfeed, when I was ennobled with the solemn responsibility of roasting a chicken on the weekend, my google search for “Awesome Roast Chicken Recipes” led me to Buzzfeed’s Roast Chicken Tournament (don’t bother clicking the link – I’ll tell you what you need to know), and to the eventual victor among recipes – Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken.

Thomas Keller is, evidently, a Michelin Star-decorated chef – I don’t know how therefore to prove the authenticity of his name on this recipe, as a quick Google search suggests he’s got a few recipes up his sleeve in this regard.

The thing that got me about this was how straightforward it was.  Definitely not ornate, but marvellous.  And I post it here partially for sharing, but mainly so I know where to find it next time.

3743643054_e6702eddae_b1Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken (eviscerated)
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt flakes (or any other posh salt you care to use I suppose), smashed up with a pestle
  • Some ground black pepper
  • Some butcher’s string.  I didn’t have any butcher’s string so I used normal white parcel string which I wet before tying up.  About 60cm should do, depending on the size of the bird.

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven up to 450 degrees F / 230 degrees C.  Ish.
  2. While that’s happening (and our oven takes a while to get there), ensure the chicken is COMPLETELY dry by patting it down with paper towels: inside and out.  That includes scooping out any gross bits that are still stuck inside.
  3. Rub some of the salt & pepper around the inside of the chicken.  Maybe about 1/4 of what you’ve got?
  4. Truss the legs with the string to pinch shut the gaping hole, and also tie the wings back into the body to make the whole arrangement as sensibly compact as plausible.  Tie with a non-slippy knot and cut off excess string ends.
  5. Sprinkle the rest of the salt & pepper over the body of the bird, trying to cover as much of it as possible.  I don’t think you need to massage it in, but I rubbed it about a bit to make sure I got complete coverage.
  6. Put the chicken breast-side up on a roasting rack in a roasting tin.
  7. Shut the oven, and leave the whole arrangement there for about an hour.
  8. Try to relax and not repeatedly check on the thing, then when the timer goes off take it out and rest it for about 15 minutes before carving.

The internal temp for safe cooking I’m lead to believe should be about 165-170F.

There’s no basting, drizzling, turning, or anything.  The idea is that the roasting rack keeps the thing above the tray so the heat should hit it evenly from all angles.  The high temperature crisps up the skin more quickly and seals the moisture in.  And ensuring the thing’s dry (and not adding any sauces, etc.) reduces the creation of steam in the oven.  Apparently.

Alls I can tells ya is that this chicken nearly drove me paranoid insane – admittedly most of it was to do with never having roasted a chicken before and knowing that if you screw it up you can poison people.  I kept checking to make sure it wasn’t burning (because I hate the fire alarm in our flat).  I was wigging out because the oven temp never quite reached 450 (sort of moved between 400 and 430), which was partially to do with the fact I was doing roasties in there simultaneously but also because our oven’s shit.  When the roasting was complete I checked the temp and it was definitely in the Safe Zone (then started thinking “Oh God, I’ve Overcooked It!”).  Then when I carved it the meat was SOOOOOO tender and moist, I thought “Oh God, I Must Have Undercooked It?!”.

But, other than perhaps my seasoning being a tad overzealous (I *may* have used more than 1 Tbsp), It Was Amazing.

And nobody got poisoned.

The recipe suggested 50-60 minutes of cooking for a 2lb bird.  I didn’t weigh it, but the packaging said “Small”.  And then I reasoned out that with a lower oven temp it made sense to go for the upper time limit.

Flavoursome, moist, lovely, not-bland roast chicken.

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