Friday, 21 October 2011

Ultimate Roast Chicken

I watched Thomas Keller (of The French Laundry fame) on Saturday Kitchen. He made roast chicken and oh boy did it look good. Coincidence that I am planning on roasting a chicken the following day, A quick check of the ingredients revealed that I have everything in stock... YES! this chicken is being roasted Thomas Keller style!

The process starts many hours before roasting. First, you need to soak the chicken in a brine solution.
Note: My chicken was about 3lbs/1.4Kg

To make the brine solution
2.5l water
80g salt
50g honey (about 2.5Tbsp)
6 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves (crushed with skins on)
1Tbsp black peppercorns
5g rosemary leaves
5g thyme leaves
25g parsley
1 lemon, zest and juice

Boil the solution for one minute to dissolve the salt into the water then take off the heat and leave to cool.

Rinse the chicken under cold water then place in the brine solution for 6 hours. Ensure that the chicken is fully immersed in the solution.

After 6 hours, take the chicken out and dry. I used a clean teatowel to wrap my chicken in. This allowed it to stay dry but covered.

A key point that Thomas Keller made on the programme is that it is important to temper the chicken before roasting. This means ensuring the chicken is at room temperature so make sure your chicken is out of the fridge at least an hour before roasting (depending on how big your chicken is). If you put a cold piece of meat into a hot environment, it is shocked and the fibres rapidly contract. Tempering should prevent this from happening resulting in more succulent meat.
so, the chicken has been brined, dried and tempered. Now into the roasting tray, skin seasoned with Maldon sea salt and cracked black pepper. Roast your chicken for 20 minutes on 220C/425F/Gas7 before turning down to 180C/350F/Gas4 for the remaining cooking time.
Note: My chicken required 80 mins total so 20 minutes at 220C then 60 minutes at 180C.
Another important note when cooking meat is the resting time afterwards. Always leave your meat 15 minutes or so to rest. The reasons are the same as tempering: To let the fibres relax which makes the meat more succulent. Trust me and try it!

Serve with potatoes roasted in duck or goose fat, chicken gravy, your favourite veg, bread sauce and a cheeky Yorkshire pud! Sunday food for your soul.

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