Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Jacques Pépin's Quick-Roasted Chicken

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

If it weren't already clear, Jacques Pépin seems to have been crowned the master of chicken cookery around here. Whether it's his chicken thighs crisped up slowly in a covered nonstick pan, or Nick's recent foray into a spicy ginger and lemon dish, the man has done wonders for cooking this oft-consumed but difficult-to-master cut of meat. I, for one, am always overcooking my chicken and need all the help I can get.

A twist on roast chicken, this technique from a recipe in Food & Wine tackles the problem of the breast meat drying out by the time the thighs are ready due to the thighs taking longer to cook. Cutting out the backbone and flattening the chicken changes the playing field. Make a slash through the leg to speed up cooking, and the chicken can now be cooked all at once to the same degree of doneness. It really works, with each piece remaining juicy and succulent.

It also helps that Pépin douses the bird in a complex yet simple-to-make sauce of garlic, mustard, soy sauce, hot sauce, herbs, and white wine. After a quick 30-minute trip in the oven, one of the better roast chickens I've eaten was on the table.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.

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