Serious Eats: Recipes

Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Crisp Savory Roast Chicken

[Photograph: John Kernick]

Over the past few months it's become pretty clear that finding out how chefs roast their chickens is high on our lists. So when we came across Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Crisp Savory Roast Chicken in his latest cookbook, Home Cooking with Jean-Georges, of course we had to share it with all of you.

Unlike the barebones simplicity of Michael Ruhlman's method, Jean-Georges goes with a more involved chicken roasting technique that infuses the bird with tons of flavor as well as that chicken-y goodness that we're always looking for. The recipe begins with a herb, salt, and brown sugar brine that includes the curious addition of kombu, a thick seaweed that imparts a whole lot of umami. Once brined, thyme, rosemary, basil, garlic, and lemon are placed into the cavity and the chicken is trussed and roasted at a fairly low 350°F until juices run clear.

At this point you might notice a considerable lack of deep brown, crackly skin, even though the chicken is cooked through. No need to fret; that's because you're not quite done. Jean-Georges finishes his roasted chicken by quartering it and letting the pieces crisp up under the broiler, in essence brûléeing the chicken for optimal skin crispiness. This extra step ensures that pretty much every bit of the chicken's surface area is cooked to golden perfection with no hidden bits of flabby skin to be found.

And when it comes time to carve and eat, you'll find that not only is your whole bird burnished and beautiful but the flesh is flavored through and juicy with all of the salty-herbal qualities of the brine, and they really do come though in a lovely and delicate way.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Home Cooking with Jean-Georges to give away this week.

Adapted from Home Cooking with Jean-Georges by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Copyright © 2011. Published by Clarkson Potter. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

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