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(photo from epicurious.com)

As one of the food-obsessed, I eventually sought out the process of making the perfect roast chicken. It’s a staple of a good cooking arsenal: perfectly suitable for casual meals as well as special occasions. A roast chicken always makes guests feel pretty special.

For my search, I hit the internet and stumbled across this recipe from Thomas Keller of the famed French Laundry in Napa Valley. (Hooray, internet!)

It is, according to the title, Mr. Keller’s favorite roast chicken recipe. The writeup is charming, the directions simple and full-proof. The critical steps are:

  • rinse and thoroughly dry your chicken
  • salt and pepper it well
  • the magic temperature is 450º degrees Fahrenheit
  • the magic time is 50–60 minutes
  • I second Keller’s recommendation to enjoy the chicken with a bit of mustard

My additional cooking notes:
Chickens in the average grocery store run large—4–5 lbs. Fortunately, the same timing and temperature work just fine with birds of this size. I’ve tried them a few times, but so far, Purdue chickens have more fat and less flavor, so I search for organic and/or free-range chickens. The birds run smaller, the skin cooks through better, and I could swear the chickens taste more…well, like chicken.

Modifications and lazy things I do:
I don’t truss. I obsess over crispy skin and trussing leaves soft spots. Then the second part of my pursuit of crispy skin greatness is I either start the bird breast side-down and flip it at the 40–45-minute mark, or use the “Eiffel tower” device as mentioned in this video of Christopher Walken roasting chicken (another internet delight). Don’t worry if you pierce the skin a bit. Everything seems to stay moist despite that. I guess if I had my way, I would rotisserie this baby. But sadly, no room for a rotisserie in the kitchen.

I promise photos of my own roast chickens to come in the future…


Found: via the Google

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