Thomas Keller’s “Mon Poulet Roti” (Roast Chicken)

Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken

I was on a Keller-Kick. I’m not ashamed to admit it. He’s a Culinary Rock Star and we are but his mere groupies 🙂

I have long since wanted to make his Roast Chicken as he has so often named it as one of his desired “last meals on earth”. I’ve seen him demo it several times (and seen other bloggers give it a spin) and loved the simplicity of it all.

With an extra chicken and fresh thyme conveniently in the fridge, I had no excuse. And although I already had the recipe to refer to, I took the opportunity to view the following video for reassurance:

Looks easy right? And deliciously juicy? Well, it WAS! On both accounts! The skin was crispy and well seasoned—the meat extremely tender. And because of the extra step of removing the wishbone before trussing the bird, it was beautifully simple to carve.

I am happy to report that my young niece and nephew gobbled it up for dinner. And by “gobbled”, I actually mean “inhaled”.  Kid Tested and Approved!

If Turkey seems a tad overwhelming or just simply too much for the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday, give Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken a try. So easy and delicious that you’ll be able to save your energy for all of the Black Friday sales/shopping the next day. 🙂


“Mon Poulet Roti” (Roast Chicken)
From Thomas Keller’s “Bouchon” Cookbook

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it’s a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.

Now, salt the chicken— I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it’s cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper. (Love freshly ground pepper!)

Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone — I don’t baste it, I don’t add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don’t want. Roast it until it’s done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I’m cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip — until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook’s rewards. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be super elegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side (Which I don’t feel necessary as the chicken turned out to be quite flavorful) and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You’ll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it’s so good.