Simple Sunday-night roast chicken
ON MY SUNDAY NIGHTS OFF, I LOVE PREPARING A SIMPLE ROAST CHICKEN. I don’t typically have a lot of time to cook at home, so this straightforward recipe is a favourite go-to. It can be prepared mostly in advance and finished just before you’re ready to sit down at the table. The trick is to pre-poach the chicken and finish it off in the oven to caramelize the skin to a stunning golden brown. You can rest easy, knowing the chicken meat is already cooked through and is still going to be super-juicy.
- 1 crown of top-quality chicken (if you like, ask your butcher for this cut, with legs, wings and back removed)
- 3 L (3 quarts) top-quality chicken stock
- 225 g (½ lb) soft butter
- salt, pepper
Place chicken crown in a Dutch oven. Add chicken stock to cover (if you don’t have enough, top it up with water). Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes and set aside.
Let stock cool to room temperature, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove chicken from the stock and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange chicken on a plate and transfer to the refrigerator, uncovered, until thoroughly chilled and the skin is starting to dry — a few hours (up to overnight if you want extra time to yourself on your day off).
Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
Arrange chicken crown breast-side-up on a baking sheet or a large roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Spread the butter liberally all over the bird. Season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and roast, basting frequently, until the skin is thoroughly bronzed, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to countertop to rest for 10 minutes.
Carve and serve with your preferred roast vegetables (mine are Brussels sprouts and Jerusalem artichokes) and a simple pan gravy or jus.