How to make it

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.
  • Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it's a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.
  • Now, salt the chicken — I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it's cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.
  • Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone — I don't baste it, I don't add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don't want. Roast it until it's done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.
  • Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I'm cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip — until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook's rewards. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be superelegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You'll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it's so good.

Reviews & Comments 11

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  • pascale 6 years ago
    Thank Mr. Thomas Keller!
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    " It was excellent "
    gnnoles ate it and said...
    Best... Chicken... Ever. We did this one tonight and it was heaven. Simple and comforting for Sunday Dinner. The kids loved it as well, kudos!
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    " It was excellent "
    kochhexe ate it and said...
    ohhhh, *groansigh* - the above remarks carress my soul, make me ahce for this food. yessss, here, real great food lovers are at work! and to hell with the calories. yesss, i do love the greek 15% fat yoghurt - the only thing to use when making tzatziki or the greek dessert - just plain yoghurt with chopped walnuts and honey! hmmmm.
    have a wonderful easter holiday and feast!
    Renate
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  • pascale 6 years ago
    I frequently make this with breasts and legs. The meat doesn't come out as succulent, nor the skin as crispy, but for a smaller group (or oneself) it's perfectly fine.
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  • hayamaktoum 6 years ago
    This sounds so good! I routinely buy whole chicken breasts and roast them; do you think this could work as well with just the breast, instead of the whole chicken?
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  • bradfordblanco 6 years ago
    I will be making this very very soon! Excellent recipe. Thanks much!
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  • pascale 6 years ago
    Cream top yogurt (Brown Cow maple is my favorite)! Have you tried the Total Greek strained yogurt (full fat being the best, naturally)? That and a little Tupelo honey and some strawberries and, well, you're off to a good day...

    I once had about $100 worth of Beluga caviar wiped on my apron when catering at Cartier a decade ago. We were cramming down Beluga on homemade potato chips, rolled in clarified butter and baken in a convection oven.
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  • baron_grayson 6 years ago
    It's almost like stumbling onto some wonderful, secret society... ~laugh~

    Let me share a few other guilty pleasures: caviar, slow roasted marrow bones on toast with garlic, and that layer of cream on whole yoghurt that rises to the top....

    ~sigh~
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  • pascale 6 years ago
    Oh, it's so tasty! The recipe instructions are Mr. Keller's own words (assuming there's no ghost writer)... The chicken butt is devine.
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  • baron_grayson 6 years ago
    Jaysus...I am a guilty tail stealer as well... My family used to fight for it when it was roasted chicken for dinner. Perhaps it's time to genetically modify chickens with two tails....and release the little monsters into grocery stores world wide. This sounds excellent..crispy...juicy.
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  • suestonebender 6 years ago
    ~groans~ Now this is comfort food. I could eat roasted chicken every day of the week, especially something nice and savoury like this.
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