Bourdain knew this: we should all know how to roast a chicken, so it has a crisp skin and deliciously moist, tender meat. He considered it an obligation to teach us how to make this happen by sharing these important tips.
Given a raw bird, few of us can come up with properly cooked and yet moist chicken meat with a crisp skin. This should be the simplest bird to cook, but many people mess up regularly.
Chicken should not be dishonored in this manner!
- About 1kg of best quality chicken (organic if possible)
- Sea salt
- Crushed black peppercorns
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp of unsalted butter
- 10 sprigs of fresh thyme
- A fresh bay leaf
- Half a lemon, sliced into 4 wedges
- A cup of dry white wine
- About 2 tbsp of lemon juice
- A ¼ cup of finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 ½ cups of chicken stock
To begin with, you should preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius.
Take the chicken, rub it with salt and crushed peppercorns both on the inside and the outside.
Stuff about half a tablespoon knob of butter under the skin on either side of the breast skin and also under the skin of each thigh.
Into the chicken's cavity, stuff the thyme, lemon wedges, and the bay leaf.
Using the tip of a paring knife, poke a hole in the skin below each of the chicken's legs. Then tuck each leg into that hole.
After that, place the chicken in a flame-proof roasting pan and roast it for about 30 to 40 minutes as you rotate the pan and move it to different spots in the oven due to the hot spots. While at it, baste the chicken twice or thrice using a bulb-top baster. You can also use a long-handled metal spoon to baste.
Lower the heat in the oven to 150 degrees Celsius and keep roasting.
Keep basting frequently for about 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
You will know it's done when the juices run clear after you poke the fat part of the thigh with a paring knife.
Remove the chicken from the oven and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
Separate the breasts and legs from the rest of the chicken.
Using a ladle, skim off and dispose as much surface fat from the pan juices as you possibly can.
Put the pan on a stove top and set it at high heat.
Stir in the lemon juice and the wine as you scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge and dissolve the browned bits.
Let the mixture boil and then let it cook until it reduces by half.
Stir in the stock with a wooden spoon, and let it boil, and again, let it reduce by half.
Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a sieve into a medium-sized, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, one at a time, until you end up with a thick and glossy sauce.
Finally, fold in the parsley and add salt and pepper as seasoning as per your requirements.
Serve the chicken.
A person should get half a breast and a drum stick, or a thigh, with the sauce ladled over the serving.
This amazing roasted chicken recipe by Bourdain is also in his famous cookbook, Appetites. Now you know how to make the perfect roast chicken.