Simple Roasted Whole Chicken with Salt and Butter

Simple Roasted Whole Chicken with Salt and Butter

*Photo and Content Updated March 2012*

Inspiration: I’m a broken record at this point, but two chickens a month from our lovely and wonderful meat CSA (look for one in your area – they’re awesome!) means that I’ve roasted my fair share of chickens. Who would have thought that the simplest one would be our very favorite? We’ve made this three times already in the past couple of months, and really, I don’t have any plans to try any other roasted chicken recipes. This one is comfort food at its finest. Thank you Sunday for being the perfect vehicle for my comfort food suppers.

What We Loved: We’ll start with the chicken. It’s (a variation of) Thomas Keller’s favorite roast chicken recipe, so that should say a lot from the start, right? It’s so easy, easy, easy to make, and the flavor? Salty, buttery, delicious. As you can see from the photo, the skin develops a nice salt crust that is just wonderful. Keller suggests serving the chicken slathered with butter, and I just have to say – what a fantastic idea. I never would have thought of it on my own, but it really is one of the best things that has ever happened to roasted chicken. We like to put a nice dish of room temperature butter on the table between us, and I like to eat the crusty/salty pieces of chicken on their own and top all of the juicy, inside pieces with big pats of melting butter. Perfect.

Tips: Keller suggests serving this chicken with both butter and mustard. We haven’t tried the mustard yet (we can’t seem to get past how perfect it is without it), but I’m sure that it would be great for those who love mustard.

Simple Roasted Whole Chicken with Salt and Butter
Source: Adapted from Almost Bourdain, originally from Thomas Keller via Melanie Dunea’s ‘My Last Supper’

I’m really going to simplify this with easy instructions for how we make it. For more detailed instructions and to see the changes I make (I leave out pepper, thyme, and mustard), see the above link.

1 2-3 lb chicken
Kosher salt
Unsalted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 450. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well inside and out with paper towels.

2. Add salt to the cavity of the bird, then truss the bird.

3. Salt the chicken well and evenly with about a tablespoon of Kosher salt.

4. Place the chicken in a roasting pan with a meat thermometer stuck into the cavity between the breast and the leg, deep into the meat and not touching bone. Cook until the bird reaches an internal temperature of 170, about an hour and a half.

5. Let rest for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with plenty of butter.


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