I bow to the genius of Thomas Keller for this roasted chicken with root vegetables.
This week I’ll be featuring some of my favorite stolen recipes. These are recipes that live in my bookmarks and come into play when I want to deliver show-stopping food. We’ll start with a stunner that’s made in one pan.
This roast chicken recipe is straight-up stolen from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home, via the Amateur Gourmet. If you think you know what roasted chicken on a bed of vegetables is like, prepare to have your buds blown. The recipe relies on a few really detailed techniques, but delivers an intensely delicious chicken with crispy skin that makes every extra step well worth the effort.
It makes use of some oft-overlooked veggies, such as leek and rutabaga. But what I really give this recipe credit for is turning me on to turnips. Turnips are a damn revelation. You might even end up liking the veggies more than the chicken. I particularly enjoy the specificity of the vegetable sizes so that you feel confident you have a good balance.
I won’t make you wait any longer for the good stuff. Here’s the recipe:
One 4 to 4 1/2 lb chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
6 thyme sprigs
2 large leeks
3 tennis-ball-sized rutabagas
2 tennis-ball-sized turnips
4 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut in half
1 small yellow onion, trimed, leaving root end intact, and cut into quarters
8 small (golf-ball-sized) red-skinned potatoes
1/3 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until it comes to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 475 F.
Remove the neck and innards if they are still in the cavity of the chicken. Using a paring knife, cut out the wishbone from the chicken. (This will make it easier to carve the chicken.) Generously season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper, add 3 of the garlic cloves and 5 sprigs of thyme, and massage the inside of the bird to infuse it with the flavors. Truss the chicken.
Cut off the dark green leaves from the top of the leeks. Trim off and discard the darkened outer layers. Trim the root ends, cutting around them on a 45-degree angle. Slit the leeks lengthwise almost in half, starting 1/2 inch above the root ends. Rinse the leeks well under warm water.
Cut off both ends of the rutabagas. Stand the rutabagas on end and cut away the skin, working from top to bottom and removing any tough outer layers. Cut into 3/4-inch wedges. Repeat with the turnips, cutting the wedges to match the size of the rutabagas.
Combine all the vegetables and remaining garlic cloves and thyme sprig in a large bowl. Toss with 1/4 cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables in a large cast-iron skillet or a roasting pan.
Rub the remaining oil over the chicken. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Make a nest in the center of the vegetables and nestle the chicken in it.
Cut the butter into 4 or 5 pieces and place over the chicken breast.
Put the chicken in the oven and roast for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400 F and roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until the temperature registers 160 F in the meatiest portions of the bird–the thighs, and under the breast where the thigh meets the breast–and the juices run clear. If necessary, return the bird to the oven for more roasting; check it every 5 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 20 minutes.
Just before serving, set the pan of vegetables over medium heat and reheat the vegetables, turning them and glaazing them with the pan juices.
Cut the chicken into serving pieces, arrange over the vegetables and serve.