Chef Tom – Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

Sometimes simple is the most elegant solution to an evening meal. With a good roast chicken in your repertoire you can choose from a thousand different sides, depending on the season, and never go wrong.

One simple meal, from three incredible chefs. For technique, these go from easy to more advanced (although the most advanced is still pretty straightforward).

Choose your favorite, or practice all three.

Jacques Pepin

Jacques-Dans-Le- Boîte

Basic Roast Chicken

Ingredients:

Serves 4

1 3 1/2 pound chicken

Salt and ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with the salt and pepper and fold the wings akimbo to position them closer to the body. Place the chicken on its side in an oven-safe skillet, preferably cast-iron.

Place the chicken in the skillet in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, then turn the chicken over on its other side and cook another 20 minutes. (By cooking the chicken on its sides, the juices stay in the breast and, since only the back is exposed, the chicken does not need constant basting.)

Finally, turn the chicken onto its back, baste it with the cooking juices and continue to cook 10 minutes. It should be golden in color.

When the chicken is cooked, cut it into pieces and serve, with the drippings on the side.

Kenji Alt-Lopez (Serious Eats)

Spatchcock

Spatchcock Method (includes lovely photos)

If you’re too intimidated by the prospect, have your butcher cut out the spine. Save the spine for soup stock.

Thomas Keller (French Laundry)

Simple Roast Chicken

My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken
2–4 servings

Ingredients:

One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional)

Unsalted butter

Dijon mustard

Directions:

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.

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 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.

On That Note

This song climbed to the top of the charts and stayed there for weeks. It’s truly gone viral and has become a dance craze, to boot. The tune is darn catchy and the dance moves are incredible. In fact, it’s popular to do the dance while holding a plate of food!

The song is called Jerusalema. Click the link to hear the story about its creation.

From Wikipedia:

“Jerusalema” is a song by South African DJ and record producer Master KG featuring South African vocalist Nomcebo. The upbeat gospel-influenced house song was initially released on 29 November 2019 after it garnered positive response online, with a music video following on 21 December. It was later included on Master KG’s second album of the same title, released in January 2020. 

It was eventually released on streaming services on 10 July 2020, after it went viral during mid-2020, garnering international reaction due to the #JerusalemaChallenge. A remix featuring Nigerian singer Burna Boy was released on 19 June 2020, propelling the song onto the US Billboard charts.

It has since reached number one in Belgium, Romania and Switzerland, while peaking in the top ten of multiple other European countries. A second remix featuring Venezuelan singer Micro TDH and Colombian singer Greeicy was released on 17 September 2020.

Here are three fave videos. Sound up. Enjoy!

Master KG – Jerusalema – Food Session

Masaka Kids Africana Dancing Jerusalema By Master KG Feat Nomcebo & Burna Boy

Jerusalem – Master Kg ft Nomcebo Dance Video By Fantastic Force

=CTH=

Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at www.hippkitchen.com

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