Just a few ingredients for a great recipe. Today we’re talking Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken. Find out how to prepare it at home.
Thomas Keller is the most revered chef in the United States and with good reason. He has been instrumental in redefining American fine-dining, training some of the best chefs in the world and teaching home cooks across the world to aspire to higher standards in their kitchens. Chef Keller’s roast chicken recipe is renowned as the ultimate way to achieve perfect, crispy roast chicken every time. Here’s how to do it.
Chef Keller understands that you don’t always have to overwork an ingredient to get the most out of it. Sometimes a light touch is what’s needed and this is the case with Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken recipe.
How to prepare Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken at Home
Obviously, the most important thing is selecting a good-quality chicken. It is always best to source one from a butcher that you know as opposed to picking one from the poultry counter at the supermarket. It is also advisable to choose a humanely-reared and sustainably farmed bird as the higher the quality of life the chicken has, the better the condition and the flavour of the meat.
Before you begin to prepare your chicken you need to take it out of the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature. If you put a cold chicken into the oven it will reduce the overall temperature and the chicken will not cook evenly. It will cook quicker on the outside than on the inside.
Preparing your chicken
Some people prefer to wash their chicken before cooking it, others prefer not to. There are some very strong opinions about this. If you do wash it, be sure to dry it very well with paper towels afterwards. Excess water creates steam, which prevents the skin getting crispy.
Keller removes the wishbone first, as can be seen in the video, and then seasons the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Turn the wings of the chicken inward, underneath the body, this will support the bird in the oven and keep it upright. Truss the chicken with a piece of butcher’s twine, keeping the legs together and the wings tight to the body.
• Free range chicken
• Kosher salt
• Black pepper
• Sprigs of thyme
Place the chicken in a roasting pan and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Keller sprinkles the salt from a height as it ensures a nice even covering of kosher sat. Pepper over the top will roast in the oven and add flavour to the skin. Then add about a ¼ cup of minced thyme leaves sprinkled over the top.
Unlike many other recipes, fat is not added to the roasted chicken, allowing it to cook in its own juices. The oven is preheated at 400-450F and the chicken is placed in the oven for 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the size of the chicken. An average-sized chicken should cook in about 45 minutes, but the way to check if a chicken is cooked it to pierce between the thigh and the body with a sharp knife and if the juices run clear then the chicken is cooked. It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to chicken and a slightly overcooked bird is preferable to an underdone one.
When the chicken is cooked, take it out of the oven. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes. Keep the pan juices for making gravy if desired. Then comes the carving. Keller splits the chicken breast in two, which allows him to divide the bird to serve in two halves.
Thomas Keller has a vast knowledge of food and technique, and he has recipes for all levels from the apex chefs of fine-dining to the novice home cook. Following Keller’s simple, foolproof roast chicken recipe and preparation will ensure you get the best results with your roast chicken every time. Once you have mastered Keller’s basics you can begin to experiment with slight variations of your own.