Chez Panisse Roast Chicken

4.11.11 § 8 Comments

Chez Panisse Roast Chicken

I’ve become obsessed with roast chicken as of late, which is kind of funny, because unless I’m going to a place that is famous for it, I usually steer away from chicken on restaurant menus. Chicken is so often boring, and in my opinion, if it’s dry or poorly cooked, it’s not worth eating. However, I’ve discovered that it’s laughably easy to make a roast chicken at home that will knock your socks off and impress the heck out of any dinner guests. And there is definitely more than one way to do it.

My slightly-botched, spatchcocked roast chicken

Take for instance, spatchcocked roast chicken. It’s not the prettiest presentation, but using this technique is sure to give you an evenly cooked bird every time. Click on over to my previous post to read more about spatchcocking. Or click here to learn about why it works so well.

Yogurt-Marinated Roast Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Or, there’s yogurt-marinated chicken with roasted red pepper sauce, which I found on The Wednesday Chef and made about a month ago but never got around to posting. While this recipe requires a bit of forethought (the marinade needs to sit on the chicken for a awhile), again, the end result is a tender, juicy chicken, and the roasted red pepper sauce is absolutely to die for. Seriously, I could eat it with a spoon.

Spice Rub for Chez Panisse Chicken

And last but not least, the star of today’s post: an incarnation of the roast chicken served at Chez Panisse, which I adapted from the version I found over on The Amateur Gourmet. This chicken doesn’t require any advance preparation. You simply throw together a quick spice rub (pictured above), massage it into the chicken, tie up some strings, and throw the chicken in the oven. Walk away for an hour, and when you come back, you have a succulent, flavorful meal that looks absolutely gorgeous on a serving platter.

Filling the chicken cavity with thyme

The most amazing thing is, unlike many other recipes for roast chicken, this one has no added fat! I’m not usually one to advocate for low-fat cooking, but due to an upcoming trip to tropical paradise, I’ve been thinking I should cut back on the butter. Okay, that’s not really true. But I guess that every once in a while, it might be nice not to kill dinner guests with butter, right? (I don’t know, you’ll have to tell me the answer to that one…) I guess the bottom line is that I never would have imagined that something made with no added fat could be so good! Really! It’s like magic! The entire chicken is so tender and juicy that you won’t believe there’s no voodoo involved.

Chicken covered in spice rub

And the very best part?! (I know, I know…it’s unbelievable that this gets any better…) You can make two of these at once (or one will suffice if you aren’t cooking for a crowd) and use the meat to make meals all week! I’ve been noshing on chicken quesadillas, chicken salad, chicken sandwiches…the list goes on. This is really awesome when you’re making lunches during the week and you don’t have tons of time to cook. If fact, I think I’ll go make a chicken sandwich right now! My new favorite is chicken with jalapeno hummus, alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, and avocado mash (pictured below).

It’s pretty easy to get creative when the protein is taken care of. Man, this lunch rocks.

Chez Panisse Roast Chicken
adapted from Amateur Gourmet, where it was adapted from Chez Panisse Cookbook

3 to 4 pound whole chicken (I try to get close to 4 pounds)
cooking twine
fresh thyme
3 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground black pepper
handful of red potatoes
1 head of garlic
olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees farenheight. Remove the giblets, which are usually in a sac in the chicken’s cavity, and wash the chicken under cold water. Use paper towels to pat the chicken dry. You want to get it really dry so the skin will crisp in the oven. If not, it will just steam. Stuff the cavity with a handful of fresh thyme.

In a small bowl, mix together the salt, fennel seeds, and cayenne and black peppers. Sprinkle some of the spice mixture into the chicken’s cavity, and then rub the rest all over the chicken. You want to get it both on top of and under the skin. You may have to use your fingers to loosen the skin a bit before you can get the spice rub in there.

Get your twine ready. Pull the legs together and tie them at the feet. Next, use a larger piece of twine to go around the top section of the bird, tying the wings closely to the body. Trim the ends of the twine and place the chicken into a roasting pan or large dutch oven.

Now, cut your red potatoes in half, toss with a little bit of olive oil, and place cut-side down around the chicken. Finally, separate the cloves of garlic, but don’t peel them! Sprinkle the cloves in with the potatoes.

Place it in the oven and roast for about an hour. Remove the chicken from the oven, and if you made it in a dutch oven, put the lid on and let it rest for about 15 minutes before you carve the chicken. If you used a roasting pan without a lid, you can cover it with foil.

If you’d like to make a pan sauce, pull the chicken and potatoes out onto a platter and then use a bit of white wine to deglaze the pan over medium heat, scraping the brown bits off the bottom and allowing it to simmer and thicken a bit.

Cut the strings and remove them, carve the chicken and serve. The roasted garlic is great squeezed out of its peel onto some toasted bread or just eaten with the chicken and potatoes.

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§ 8 Responses to Chez Panisse Roast Chicken

  • Jools Cyprien says:

    I like the sound of that it seems so easy and very tasty

  • Alisa says:

    Girl, you’re on a roll! Such a great idea to make two and have meat for the week. That sandwich rocks.

  • renie says:

    MMMMM!!! Now THIS I can do — we have chickens in NM! I usually get the ones already roasted from the store, but if it’s this easy to do, I’ll def try it! Love the sandwich, too….

  • sofia says:

    i’ve never actually gotten down and dirty with the bird, what with the strings and all, but i’ve roasted chicken with potatoes underneath and almost died and went to heaven eating chicken-fat potatoes. and the chicken? let’s not even go there. i actually love chicken even though it’s considered bland by many, so i go nuts over fresh roasted chicken. i must try this butterfly method stat. chicken sandwiches for lunch every day, here i come…

  • Brianne says:

    I love, love, LOVE the photos with the spice rub! I will have to use that combination the next time I roast a chicken…and I never thought of roasting two at the same time to get more use out of the meat. Genius!

  • mdeatherage says:

    The AG post is too old to leave a comment on, but I can say something here. As Kemp Minifie just reminded everyone in Gourmet Live, don’t wash the chicken!

    This will come as a shock to all of you who automatically rinse your poultry just before cooking. It certainly was for me. So what’s the big deal? Cross contamination! It’s the big bugaboo for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a division of the USDA. Rinsing your chicken is an ideal way to spew nasty pathogens all over your sink and the surrounding area. Consider even your dish rack, including the freshly washed utensils in it, contaminated if you give your chick a quick bath. Rinsing never did get rid of food-borne pathogens anyway, so why waste your time? The trick is to get your poultry onto the baking pan with the minimum amount of human contact, then wipe down your counters with hot soapy water. Better yet, follow the cleaning with a sanitizing solution of 1 tablespoon plain, old-fashioned liquid bleach in 1 gallon of water.

    If there’s some kind of packaging residue you want to get off the chicken, then fill a big container with cold water and submerge the chicken in there, rather than put it under running water and potentially splash raw chicken juices everywhere. Or just dampen a paper towel and wipe it down. Most of the time, I just skip directly to using the paper towels to pat it really really dry (and then disinfect the counter).

    I don’t think washing is necessary at all, but if you do, then by all means do not just rinse it in the sink. Or just pat it dry and save a step and make the recipe even easier.

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