Favorite Simple Roast Chicken

A couple years ago, I was doing an internet search for a Thomas Keller recipe – you know, looking for something time-consuming and overly complicated that would require grocery store scavenger hunts and a day’s worth of kitchen prep BUT in the end would be worth the effort and yield an incredible meal* – and I stumbled across Keller’s “Favorite Simple Roast Chicken.” I nearly clicked away, but the recipe had more than 500 reviews and over 95% of those who commented said they’d make it again.

Intrigued, I roasted a chicken the Thomas Keller way for our next family meal. This required patting down the chicken with paper towels, showering it with a light rainfall of salt and roasting it in a hot oven. The preparation was, as its name promised, incredibly easy.

As for taste? Our family agreed with the masses. It was excellent and later became the inspiration for the roast chicken legs and thighs recipe featured on this blog.  

Roasting the whole chicken per Keller’s technique gives you the same results as the legs and thighs recipe – crispy, crackly skin and tender meat with minimal kitchen effort – but in this adaptation, you get a gorgeous bird AND some fixin’s. Inspired by some of the comments on Epicurious, I place the chicken on a bed of diced carrots, potatoes and onions, which cook in the chicken fat while the bird roasts.

The vegetables directly under the chicken get the most love, rendering them meltingly soft and sweet, while the veggies scattered around the chicken turn brown and crispy along the edges.

I’m with Keller. This is my favorite simple roast chicken, too.

* Not all of Keller’s recipes are overly challenging or labor intensive. I cook often from his entirely approachable Ad Hoc cookbook, which is full of straight-forward yet interesting takes on standards like blueberry cobbler and buttermilk biscuits. I’m also a fan of his leek bread pudding and glazed pork spare ribs.

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