Perfect Roasted Chicken recipe
Edit: Oct 11, 2008: This is by far the most popular page on my blog, strangely enough, and if you google “roast chicken recipe”, it is the sixth item on the first page, and if you search for “roasted chicken recipe”, then it’s the 4th entry(!), immediately following Emiril Lagasse’s recipe! (holy crap!) — probably why it’s so popular. I really hope all you people actually try this recipe. It really is spectacularly superb, easily the best recipe, not just for roasted chicken, but for any food, of all the recipes I’ve come across. Take the time to actually make it, it’s worth it.
I came across this recipe for Perfect Roast Chicken about a year ago or so, and have been making it ever since with a couple of my own modifications every once in a while. It is by far the best recipe for roasted chicken that I’ve come across anywhere.
There are a few things which make this recipe incredibly fantastic. First, of course, the chicken comes out very moist and wonderful, which you’d expect from a good recipe for roasted chicken. Second, you also get roasted potatoes along with it. Third, you get a bunch of delicious veggies as well. But wait! There’s more! You also get a great “Au Jus” to go with it all. And all this happens in a single pan, inside the oven (with some minor stirring on the stovetop afterwards for the au jus.)
So, here’s the recipe (also check out the linked recipe above.) I’ll note where I deviate from the recipe — though this is from memory, so I might not remember all my deviations.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A roasting chicken, about 3.5 lb (1.75kg), though size isn’t critical.
- A large iron skillet, or other oven-safe large metal frying pan.
- Some carrots, celery,, and a large onion, (I use more veggies than the original recipe calls for. I have a large skillet, and I like having lots of veggies.)
- Some potatoes. (The original recipe doesn’t call for potatoes. Again it helps to have a large skillet for this.)
- A glass of white wine. I use Chateau St. Jean chardonnay. This chardonnay has a very distinctive flavor — in fact it is the only wine I’ve ever been able to name in a blind tasting. Other white wines would probably work as well, especially if you have one you particularly like. Experiment. If you have no idea what to use, well, I recommend the Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay. Usually around $11 to $12 a bottle around these parts.
- Fresh ground pepper, salt, and rosemary.
- A little butter or olive oil.
- An apple, doesn’t really matter what kind, it’s not for eating.
- Make sure the chicken has thawed if you bought a frozen one.
- Peel and dice the carrots, onions and celery, and put them all in the iron skillet. This particular combination of diced vegetables is known as mire poix. Make kind of a mound of the mire poix in the center of the skillet. The chicken will sit atop this mound. Season with salt, ground pepper, and rosemary.
- Cut up the potatoes into bite sized pieces. I usually get the small red potatoes.
- Prepare the chicken: Remove the giblets, etc. from inside. Put several slices of apple inside (this will help keep the chicken moist.) If you’re like me, half the time you’ll have forgotten to buy an apple. In that case it’s good if you’ve made a lot of mire poix. Put that inside instead of the apple. Note that if you do this, the mirepoix inside the chicken probably won’t cook as thoroughly as the rest of the mire poix, so you’ll probably want to discard it when done, as the carrots will probably still be a bit crunchy. Rub a little butter or olive oil all over the chicken. Season it with salt, ground pepper, and rosemary. Place the chicken on top of the mound of mire poix in the skillet.
- Put the cut-up potatoes all around the edges of the skillet. Season them with salt, ground pepper, and rosemary.
- Preheat the oven to 425F (~218C) (you’re going to turn this down later.) Adjust the oven rack to accomodate the iron skillet with a big chicken in it. (For me, this means moving the rack down one slot from its usual middle position.)
- When the oven reaches temperature, put the whole shebang into the oven. Let it go for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400F (~204C).
- Check the chicken after it has been in the oven for a total of about 1 hour and 45 minutes (the original recipe said 1.5 hours, but with the added potatoes and extra veggies, I find it usually takes 2 hours. It probably also depends on the initial temperature and size of your chicken as well.) Use a meat thermometer, or check that the juices run clear when you cut into the thickest part where the leg connects to the body.
Preparing the veggies, and the au jus:
- Remove the skillet from the oven to the stovetop. Take the chicken out of the skillet onto a platter. Because it’s sitting on the veggies, there’s no problem with it sticking, so this is easy, though more easily accomplished by two people than by one.
- Remove the potatoes to a serving dish.
- Remove the mire poix (aka the veggies) to a bowl.
- Pour a glass of white wine over the veggies, then strain this wine back into the skillet. The wine will coat the veggies giving them a great flavor.
- turn up the heat on the skillet, and simmer the wine/chicken fat mixture for awhile to drive off the alcohol and reduce it down a bit to intensify the flavor. Then pour the au jus into a serving dish.
- Carve the chicken, serve, and enjoy.
Edit, Nov 16, 2009: Made this last night. Fabulous as always. Some additional notes: Do not be afraid to make a LOT of veggies. I use an entire bunch of celery, almost an entire package of carrots, four smallish onions, or a couple big ones. Stack those potatoes up. Pile it high. Once you’ve done this recipe a few times you figure out your oven, and you can go by time — for me, now I just know that in 2 hours it’s done. Another tip: When moving the chicken from the pan to the platter, I used to get someone to help me, and we’d each get a couple of forks and kind of lift it from four corners with our forks. No more. Get some tongs. Insert one arm of the tongs into the cavity of the chicken, lightly clamp down on the breast with the other arm of the tongs, and lift the whole thing right up. Very easy quick and slick, and doesn’t need two people, and in fact does not even need two hands. (Saw that trick on a youtube video somewhere — very cool.)
Edit, Jan 17, 2009: DO NOT SKIP THE WINE STEP, YOU ARE ONLY CHEATING YOURSELF.. I’ve noticed a lot of people making this recipe skip the wine step. I’m sure it comes out ok. I am also sure it does not come out mind blowingly awesome. You’ve cheated yourselves out of gastronomic ecstacy.