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Cook the Book: Thomas Keller's One-Pot Roast Chicken

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

Roasting a chicken is one of the most indispensable skills that a cook can hone, and no one has been championing the simple joys of a roast chicken more than Thomas Keller. So it's not surprising Keller chose to contribute a recipe for One-Pot Roast Chicken to In The Green Kitchen by Alice Waters, a collection of essential skills for home cooks.

While this recipe is pretty basic, Keller includes a few tips for optimal chicken-roasting. He removes the wishbone from the top of the chicken breast, which makes a world of difference when it comes to carving. He also trusses the chicken, binding the legs and tucking the wing tips under; this plumps up the breast and makes for a more evenly roasted chicken.

Once the chicken is tied and ready to go, it's placed on a bed of vegetables and herbs and left to roast undisturbed until it is cooked through. For those of you who are never quite sure when your chicken is truly finished, Keller offers up a great tip to check for doneness; Insert a knife into the leg joint and if the juices run clear, your chicken is ready, if they are pink, a few more minutes of roasting is in order.

Roasting chicken on a bed of vegetables makes for a full meal in one pot or pan. The vegetables soak up all the butter and chicken juices and caramelize beautifully. If you want to get fancy, you can dress a simple salad and throw in a loaf of crusty bread for good measure, but really this chicken is pretty much perfect on its own.

Win In The Green Kitchen

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of In The Green Kitchen to give away this week.

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