Friday, September 10, 2010

Best Roast Chicken Recipe

I have made many roast chickens from many different recipes, but I found the best one a few years ago: Gordon Hamersley's "Walk-Away" Roast Chicken. I have given the recipe to many friends, and it always becomes their go-to roast chicken because it is exactly what you want in roast chicken -- crispy skin, flavorful succulent meat -- and unbelievably simple; no trussing, no stuffing under the skin, no basting. It is virtually infallible. My wife absolutely loves roast chicken and this is her favorite version.

I have mentioned it before on this blog, and given it to friends, but never felt comfortable putting the recipe on my blog, but now it is on the Internet, notably at Fine Cooking's recipe site, so I have no hesitation in sharing it.

So here it is. Simply click on "More" below for the recipe with my commentaries, based on about 50 tries, interspersed in brackets.
Gordon Hamersley’s Walk-Away Roast Chicken


• 2 Tbs. olive oil
• 2 Tbs. Dijon-style mustard
• 1 tsp. dried thyme
• 1 tsp. dried rosemary
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 1 lemon, halved
• 1 whole roasting chicken (about 3-1/2 lb.) [I like to use a 2 3/4 lb. bird if I can find one, preferably d'Artagnan, but always organic], rinsed under cold water and dried
• 1 onion, cut into thick slices [I like to use 2 good-sized but not giant red onions, cut in half lengthwise.]
• 4 medium red potatoes, washed (but not peeled) and sliced in half. [I prefer to use medium Yukon Golds, cut in half lengthwise.]
[1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock or broth (optional)]


1. Heat the oven to 375°F. [I use my convection setting.] In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, the mustard, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Squeeze the juice from one lemon half into the herb mixture; squeeze the juice from the other half into a small bowl and reserve. Reserve the squeezed lemon halves. Spoon the herb mixture over the chicken and inside its cavity, rubbing to coat the bird thoroughly. Put the reserved lemon halves inside the chicken's cavity.

2. Put the onion and potatoes in a roasting pan. Season them with salt and pepper and toss them with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Scatter the ingredients around the pan to make room in the center for the chicken. [I put the onions and potatoes, cut side down, in the middle to make a rack for the chicken.]

3. Put the chicken in the pan, breast side up. Cook until the meat is tender and the juices run clear at the thigh, about 1–1/4 hours. [I find this time correct for a less-than 3 lb. chicken on convection setting; otherwise, allow 1 1/2 hours for an organic chicken.] By this time, the potatoes and onions should be tender.

4. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter. Pour the juices from inside the chicken's cavity into the roasting pan and transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest.

5. Spoon off and discard as much fat as possible from the juices in the roasting pan. Set the pan with the juices over medium-low heat and pour in the reserved lemon juice along with 1/2 cup water [chicken stock is better if you have it]. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

6. Cut the chicken into pieces (or serve it whole, if you like). Pour the pan juices over the chicken and serve.

7. Enjoy!

Bobby Jay

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