Thomas Keller’s Perfect Roast Chicken

May 6, 2011

Spring fever has turned my brain to mush. I want to wander around aimlessly outside in the 60 and 70 degree sunshine. I want to read outside of coffee shops. I want to ride my bike. I do not want to try new recipes. I do not want to blog. FIRST WORLD CRISIS.

The Saturday farmer’s market inspired me to put forth a little more effort. I brought back goat cheese, bread, eggs, radishes, turnips, spinach, arugala, and a 3lb whole chicken. I’ve made roast chicken in the past, which has been good, but I’ve been dying to try this Thomas Keller recipe for months. I’ve waited until the spring so I could be sure to get a good chicken from the farmer’s market.

And a good one I got, and cleaned, and reluctantly pulled the organs out of.

This roast chicken has a cult following on the internet for good reason. The skin is so very crispy and salty, the chicken is so very moist. I served it with an arugula salad and a hunk of rosemary bread. Best meal of the spring so far.

And after our very large feast, we went for a very long walk, where we joined a parade/flash mob of drummers and people dancing the samba.

And had some wine and beer on a restaurant patio.

It was a very good day.

THOMAS KELLER’S MON POULET ROTI (from Bouchon as published on epicurious’ My Favorite Roast Chicken)

This recipe, in summary. Dry the chicken. Truss the chicken. Put the chicken in a roasting pan. Leave it in the oven for an hour. Let it rest for 15 minutes. Dig in.

I lines my roasting pan with 3 layers of foil and made sure my oven was clean before I started. If you don’t you’ll be rewarded with a very smoky oven and a very hard to clean pan!


One 2-3 lb chicken

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Unsalted butter

Dijon mustard


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove organs from cavity. Dry inside the cavity and out of the chicken very thoroughly (water will prevent crisping).

Put salt and pepper in the cavity. Truss the chicken. Generously salt the skin, such that the salt flakes are visible all over the chicken skin (Keller estimates 1 tablespoon). Place salted chicken breast up in a roasting pan. Grind pepper over skin.

Place chicken in oven. Don’t touch it. It should be done in about 50-60 mins, when the skin is nice and crispy.

Take chicken out of oven and add thyme to the juice. Then baste chicken with juice and thyme. Let sit for 15 mins.

Remove twine. Go to town on your chicken.


2 Responses to “Thomas Keller’s Perfect Roast Chicken”

  1. Sara Porter Says:

    I cannot thank you enough for introducing us to this PERFECT way to roast a chicken! Andy has decided this is how we will always roast our chickens from now on 🙂 Followed your directions and cooked the bird on 3 layers of foil and in our 12 inch cast iron skillet and no smoking at all! The only thing I might try different next time in the basting … it seemed to slightly deflate the wonderfully crispy, crunchy, salty skin. Thoughts???

  2. So glad it worked well! I like your idea about the basting… I think I’m going to try leaving that step out next time too. It did seem to soften things up a bit too much… thanks, Sara!

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