You’ve likely seen dozens of roast chicken recipes that promise perfectly browned, crispy skin. I honestly don’t see what all the fuss over crispy skin is about: When your goal is crispy chicken skin, you usually sacrifice the moisture of the meat inside. Plus, once the bird is rested and carved, most of that crispy skin will get soggy with the steam and juices that are released. Instead, I use my favorite method for roasting a chicken, adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s, in which he bakes the bird in a roasting pan filled with chunks of potatoes (a recipe he calls Potatoes That Taste Better than the Chicken). Instead of a roasting pan, I use a Dutch oven, which helps keep the bird extra moist. As the chicken cooks, its juices and fat get absorbed by the vegetables, making some of the best roasted carrots and potatoes you’ve ever tasted.
1 pound baby potatoes, fingerling potatoes, or halved small potatoes
4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 3- to 4-pound whole chicken
1 bunch herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, sage, marjoram, and parsley)
1 red finger chile, thinly sliced (with seeds)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Flaky sea salt
PREHEAT THE oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with kosher salt. Pour the vegetables into the bottom of a Dutch oven or large saucepan.
RUB THE chicken with the remaining 1 table-spoon olive oil and season all over with kosher salt and pepper. Stuff the bunch of herbs into the cavity. Cut a 2-inch slash in the thickest part of each leg. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, breast side down, and roast, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken and continue roast-ing until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F, about 45 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, check the vegetables; if they aren’t completely tender, return the pot to the oven and continue roasting until they’re finished.
CARVE THE chicken. (I like to carve the bird into eight pieces: four breast pieces, two thighs, and two drumsticks.) Scatter the vegetables on a serving platter and arrange the chicken pieces on top. Squeeze the lemon over the chicken. Sprinkle with the chile, parsley, chives, and flaky salt and serve.
THE TAKEAWAY: The Dutch oven method itself is this recipe’s main takeaway, but I use a couple of other tricks that you can borrow no matter how you approach roasting a chicken. First, I make a 2-inch slash in the thickest part of each leg, which will help it cook at the same speed as the breast. And I cook the bird breast side down for the first 10 minutes of roasting, which steams the meat and helps it stay extra moist.
Excerpted from CHASING FLAVOR: Techniques and Recipes to Cook Fearlessly © 2020 by Daniel Kluger. Photography © 2020 by Evan Sung. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
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