Wishbone Roast Chicken with Herb Butter

By • February 22, 2010 • 87 Comments

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Author Notes: As I was slicing into this chicken, I suddenly remembered this story: one day my daughter excitedly said to her preschool teacher “Guess what? Chickens have a game inside them and it’s called a wishbone! Wishbones are good because you can make wishes on them.” The teacher said “I’ve played the wishbone game before with my mom. Did you cook the wishbone first?” My daughter replied “Yeah, we had to cook the wishbone and then the game is better … way better!”

To cook those wishbone chickens, I use the tube insert of my tube pan, which settles neatly inside my 9 inch cake pan. Cooking it standing up means I don’t have to turn the bird this way and that during the roasting to get a nice crispy skin. The chicken itself is inspired by a restaurant in Carmel (now replaced by a chain restaurant) that served a succulent rotisserie chicken with a flavorful herb butter. Does a perfectly roasted bird need such an embellishment? Some may argue not, but all I can say is that I have never forgotten that dish and often long for that butter while eating other perfectly fine roasted chickens. - monkeymom
monkeymom

Food52 Review: This recipe with its unassuming 5 ingredients caught our eye for its use of simple techniques to achieve a flavorful bird with crisp skin. Monkeymom has thought a lot about roasting chicken: she has you tuck shallots and butter under the skin, season the bird and then let it rest in the fridge, uncovered, for 8 hours. The butter keeps the meat moist and the air-drying in the fridge ensures a crackly skin. She also came up with an ingenious way to replicate the verticle roasting in "beer can chicken," in which the chicken sits on top of a beer can while it grills. For her brilliant adaptation, she sets the chicken on the tube part of a tube pan. The verticle positioning allows the fat to drip off the bird while it cooks, and we think it does a great job of helping to cook the bird evenly, as every part is equally exposed to the oven heat. And did we mention that the finished bird is then served with an herb butter? Herb butter gets us every time. A&M

Serves 4-6

Wishbone Chicken

  • 3-4 pounds chicken
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly
  • salt and pepper

Herb Butter

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced chives
  • (you can vary the herbs to what you prefer. Chervil, thyme, lemon zest, cayenne, etc. One bird, many options for flavoring)
  1. Wash and dry chicken. Using your hand, spread softened butter under skin on breasts, especially the part near the neck. Put shallots under skin all around. Sprinkle pepper, then salt the bird very generously all over. The key to a crispy skin is a dry bird, plenty of salt, and a hot oven. Place in refrigerator, uncovered, for 8 hours to overnight.
  2. For herb butter, soften the butter and add the other ingredients. Mash with fork to mix thoroughly, then scrape into saran wrap. Wrap up the butter to form a tube and chill in refrigerator.
  3. To roast chicken, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use only one rack, placed in the bottom slot of your oven.
  4. Place chicken feet side down on tube insert that is placed into a 9 in cake pan. This forms a stable base that will catch the drippings without leaking out. Tuck wing tips behind the neck and pull the legs out to separate them from the breast. This helps them cook a little faster so the breast won’t dry out. If the skin has torn or is short, you can use a toothpick and pin it to the bottom end of the breast. Place the bird into oven and roast for 55 minutes (my chicken was a little under 4 lbs and was cooked perfectly at this time.)
  5. Remove nicely browned chicken from oven. Let rest on tube while preparing the rest of your dinner.
  6. Slice legs from bird, then carve breasts from bones. Be careful not to cut the wishbone, which is near the neck cavity on the front top of the breast! I’ve disappointed my kids many times by accidently breaking the wishbone prematurely. Pick off the goodies from the rest of the bird and share them with your favorite helper(s).
  7. Slice the herb butter and serve with the carved chicken. A little dab of butter on the chicken goes a long way.
  8. Play wishbone game.
Jump to Comments (87)

Tags: comfort food, Entrees, family, Five Ingredients or Fewer, Holidays, kid-friendly, leftovers

Comments (87) Questions (3)

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11 months ago dymnyno

I have a tube cake pan and the tub part is removable. I usually remove the tube part and put it on a rimmed sheet pan.(one less piece to wash) Someone also gave me a tube that is for roasting chicken and guess what...it is exactly the same size and interchangeable with the one from the cake pan!

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11 months ago Geni

Oh for heavens sake! Never mind....with some help from my totally non-cooking husband, I get the picture! It IS pushed down onto the tube, it's the shoulders I see on top; I thought it was breast!

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11 months ago Geni

HELP! Just discovered this recipe and hope to fix it for company tonight! Don't understand how to put the chicken (mine is 7lb)on the tube pan. Photo looks like its "lying" on the tube, breast up....can't be! Or the tube be inserted into the chicken as in beer can chicken. Thanks for any help!!

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12 months ago lauren castro

I'm about to try this out for the first time, very excited! I'm wondering if the air drying in the fridge overnight would be better done on the tube. Same concept as in the oven really, more air circulating equals a drier raw bird and a crispier finished product.

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about 1 year ago Tamara Hudes Agarwal

This was so good! Leaving the chicken in the fridge really did make the skin nice and crispy!

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over 1 year ago gotham gourmand

The herb butter really elevates the already moist, flavorful chicken. Delicious!

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over 1 year ago marydtoombs

I'm not sure where this idea came from, but when I make herb butter, I always add a generous squeeze of a fresh lemon or lime. Somehow it takes that butter over the top in flavor. This chicken-on-a-tube-pan sounds SO delish. Can't wait to make it.

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almost 2 years ago AnnieHynes

what is a tube pan?

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over 1 year ago marydtoombs

http://askville.amazon...
(don't use the fluted kind, it's really a bundt cake pan) Some tube pans have a removable tube part, some do not. It's for easy removal of the cake (usually angel food cake).

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almost 2 years ago AnnieHynes

what is a tube pan?

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almost 2 years ago AnnieHynes

what is a tube pan?

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almost 2 years ago AnnieHynes

what is a tube pan?

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over 2 years ago pimimond

I forgot the shallots but it didn't matter. I took the tip to use just the tube pan insert, not the whole pan and my bird got a fantastically golden St. Tropez tan! Moistest and crispiest skin yet, even more so than the Zuni Cafe roast chicken- and a lot less work! Family says YAY!

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over 2 years ago WendieW

I use a Spanek Vertical Roaster which allows more even cooking.

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over 2 years ago belfman

In the summer I make beer can chicken or as my children like to say "beer butt chicken". I love this concept of roasting in the angel food pan. Just genius! I will try this and use the compound butter idea as well. I miss the "old Carmel" too...

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almost 3 years ago Maliqks Chef

I made this and added some roasted garlic to the herb butter mixture. So yummy. My cousin's boy, who never wants to eat devoured it!

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about 3 years ago Tom Wade

Great idea. tom wade

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about 3 years ago Passenger

I made this a while back and am looking forward to making it again once the weather cools down. But last time I made this, I set a bunch of brussels sprouts in the bottom of the pan, letting the butter and juices coat them on their way down from dripping... it was a match made in heaven! And so incredibly easy!

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over 3 years ago Cookbook Thief

Cooked this last night and it was a total crowd pleaser. Thank you monkeymom for the great recipe that I will certainly use for years to come. Thank you also to those responses to my Foodpickle question about what to do in the absence of a tube pan. Used an empty aluminium can and filled it 2/3 of the way with white wine, which made a sturdy base and hopefully the white wine added a little something extra to the roasting process.

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over 3 years ago clintonhillbilly

Made this for the second time for our family Passover seder, and it was so delcious and moist! Thanks so much for this recipe!

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over 3 years ago monkeymom

I'm so happy to hear that! Thanks for the feedback!

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about 4 years ago CAMELOTCOOK

Thanks for the memories this receipe brings.Over 50 years ago my Mother made this using her Angel food pan and used Wild Turkey whiskey mixed with the butter. I miss my mom and her cooking