Anthony Bourdain on roasting a chicken: “If you can’t properly roast a chicken then you are one helpless, hopeless, sorry-ass bivalve in an apron. Take that apron off, wrap it around you neck, and hang yourself…”
We were scared. As first time chicken roasters, Chef Bourdain didn’t exactly ease us into the pressure of the challenge that lay before us. We took his recipe and made some modifications of our own, and it actually turned out quite well! (We decided beforehand that the culinary sin of screwing up a roasted chicken didn’t merit the proscribed punishment, so our lives were never actually in danger during the cooking of this meal.)
1 whole chicken $2.70 (we got it on sale big time!)
1/4 Orange $0.10
1 Onion $0.30
2 Tablespoons Rosemary $0.20
2 Tablespoons Thyme $0.20
2 Tablespoons Herb Butter $0.20
1 Tablespoon tarragon $0.20
1 1/2 Cups White Wine $1.50 (2 buck chuck)
Salt and Pepper $0.10
Total Cost: $5.50
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cut off the wing tips and remove the giblets from the inside of the cavity (keep these!). Wash the inside of the chicken with cold running water. Add the salt and pepper to the inside of the cavity.
Tie the legs so that they are pointed up in the air (basically, like you’ve seen every roasted chicken tied up.) Season the outside of the bird with salt and pepper all over. Take two pats of herb butter and push them under the skin so that they are resting on top of either side of the breast bone (over each of the chicken breasts.) I would also recommend taking an extra pat of herb butter and putting it on top of the chicken before putting it in the oven.
Place the orange, rosemary, and thyme in the chicken cavity and sprinkle the outside with the herbs. Place the chicken in a roasting pan. Around the chicken, put the reserved giblets, the chopped onion, and 3/4 cup of white wine. Put the whole thing in the oven for about 30 minutes. Try to baste it about every 10 minutes, but every 15 will probably do just fine.
After 30 minutes, turn the heat up to 450 degrees. This is where the bird will cook until it is done. After about 10 minutes of the higher temperature, you may notice the pan looking dry, and this is where you add the extra wine (keep a careful eye throughout the process just in case it gets dry sooner.)
Depending on how good your oven is, this second phase of roasting will take 25-40 minutes. Bourdain’s trick is to make a small puncture in the fat part of the thigh. If clear liquid (not red or pink) comes out, the chicken is done. When this happens, take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Take the giblets and onions out of the pan. Then scrape up the bits that stuck to the bottom and transfer this liquidy mixture to a sauce pan. Add tarragon, a pinch of parsley, and some thyme to the liquid and bring it to boil. Let this reduce for about 5 minutes and then serve as a pan sauce that can be ladeled on to the chicken at the table.