The Best Roast Chicken with Pan Sauce, Revisited

October 13, 2016
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This is one recipe I was sad to cut from Amanda and my book, A New Way to Dinner. We usually have this chicken with potatoes and a salad, then enjoy the leftovers throughout the week. I’m a big fan of the dry brine; there’s no better way to get the salt to penetrate the meat without compromising texture. My roasting method is inspired by food blogger and author Kim Foster who, like Thomas Keller, favors blistering heat. When this chicken comes out of the oven, I can’t turn my back for a minute or my husband will have pinched off most of the skin and eaten it. The showstopper, though, is Kim’s garlic and herb pan sauce, to which I’ve applied a genius tip from Kenji Lopez-Alt: it turns out powdered gelatin is the secret to silky, restaurant-quality sauce. —Merrill Stubbs

What You'll Need
  • 1 5 pound chicken, preferably organic or free-range
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 3/4 cup (120ml) chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup (120ml) white wine
  • 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  1. The day before you plan to cook it, pat the chicken dry inside and out and season all over with salt, including inside the cavity (about 1 tablespoon). Refrigerate the chicken, uncovered, overnight.
  2. The day of, take the chicken out of the fridge an hour or two before you plan to eat. Heat the oven to 450°F.
  3. Set the chicken in a roasting pan and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil into the cavity. Rub the rest of the oil all over the chicken. Crack some fresh pepper over the skin and turn the bird so the breast is facing up (no need to truss).
  4. Roast without opening the oven door for at least an hour, when you should start to test it. The chicken is cooked when you pierce the thigh and the juices run clear.
  5. When the chicken is almost done, combine the chicken stock and the wine in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let this sit for about 10 minutes.
  6. Let the chicken rest in a warm place while you make the pan sauce. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of drippings from the pan and set them on the stove over medium heat. Add the thyme and garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add the stock and wine to the pan and scrape up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Let the sauce reduce by about two thirds, whisking frequently. (If you reduce it too much, just add a splash of water or stock.)
  8. When the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon, whisk in the butter and soy sauce and cook for another minute, until everything is emulsified. Off the heat, stir in the chopped parsley and chives.
  9. Cut the chicken into pieces and serve with the sauce on the side. Remove leftover meat from the bones and put it in the fridge for Warm Chicken Salad with Potatoes (page 000) later in the week; it will keep for up to 5 days. Use the carcass to make stock (freeze it in a bag for several weeks if you like).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lauren Miller
    Lauren Miller
  • Valarie
  • janet tipple
    janet tipple
  • Chuck48

21 Reviews

James H. December 19, 2023
it's funny, i've never made this recipe before, yet i've made it 100's of times. i found this recipe 15-20 years ago from im not sure, probably jacques or julia, or someone back then, and have made it almost weekly. The no waste thing is pretty great. i wish there were more. cradle to grave recipes. the way the recipe is written makes it pretty fool proof, the only other thing i would add is she mentioned not open the for a solid hour. then start checking. my ge monogram stove burns pretty hot, so i start checking at the 45 minute mark. i also have a window on my stove. sometimes they do need to cook for the full hour, and sometimes they don't.
Lauren M. November 23, 2020
Unbelievably easy with the most succulent results. Plus, who doesn’t love crispy skin?! I made a gravy instead of a pan jus, but it was just adding flour to the drippings to make a roux, deglazing with the wine and utilizing all of the other ingredients, sans gelatin. Huge hit with the whole fam!
4376ab October 27, 2019
The one thing I was surprised about was the olive oil in the cavity of the chicken. What does this add? It's not something I've heard elsewhere.
Juliebell November 2, 2016
I'm looking forward to using gelatin to make this gluten free (using the appropriate soy) sauce. Any comments on how anybody liked the sauce?
Valarie October 29, 2016
Could I just use a digital thermometer instead of repeatedly poking the thigh?
Barb October 29, 2016
@gisele paul--no, not really, other than each time you do it you'll be dropping the temp in your oven. If you poke it and the juices aren't clear then just let it sit a few more minutes and try again.
Barb October 28, 2016
I'm assuming that I'm discarding most of the drippings, and making the pan sauce with the 1 T? I've read it several times and it could go either way with the wording, but that's the way that makes sense.
Jessica Z. January 19, 2020
Right there w u.. it isn’t clear if you should discard the majority or use the majority
Nick B. October 28, 2016
Made this tonight and was utterly delicious and easy. There were expletives about the level of flavor packed into such a simple dish. The hint of soy sauce is a game changer. New go to Roast Chicken recipe, can't believe it didn't make the book...
gisele P. October 28, 2016
I get confused when I read "start to test to see if the chicken is done". If I keep poking the chicken to see if the juices run clear will that have a negative impact?
Barb October 29, 2016
no, not really, other than each time you do it you'll be dropping the temp in your oven. If you poke it and the juices aren't clear then just let it sit a few more minutes and try again.
Regent October 28, 2016
Have been roasting a chicken for each Sun PM dinner for months. Our dog enjoys the leftovers for the rest of the week. And that carcass makes the stock we use for the sauce: the neck, a few carrots, leftover herbs, celery (never an onion, or additional salt [the dog's daily rice is cooked in the stock, too]. After skimming off fat and straining, 2-3 qts stock then gets boiled down to about 3/4 cup; chilled, wedged, wrapped and frozen, and the storage issue is resolved.
Tammy October 28, 2016
I always heat a skillet in a 450 oven, then pop the seasoned chicken into skillet and roast 25-35 mins. Then turn off the heat and let sit in oven for an additional 25-35 mins. Perfectly roasted and juicy every time.
Miriam October 28, 2016
I like the sound of this recipe but I wonder how well it would work with free-range birds - they usually need low and slow? We do cook turkeys at 450 on the side (legs up) and turn them every 20 minutes. Bird looks terrific, doesn't dry out and it's all cooked at the right time. But haven't tried it with free range turkey yet.
Candace October 28, 2016
I think people have missed that it is a 5lb chicken-an hour is not a long time.
janet T. October 28, 2016
That's a VERY hot oven to roast a chicken for one hour.
Greg O. October 28, 2016
Roasting a chicken, especially an untrussed one, at 450 for "at least an hour" is too long.

And a tablespoon of salt, plus all the salt in the stock, is too much.

Finally, it's wasteful to heat an for an hour (let alone two) before one plans to use it.
Sheppard October 28, 2016
I don't think they are saying to have the oven on the whole time the chicken is coming to room temp. It looks like the next step you take after the chicken has been sitting out.
Barb October 29, 2016
My homemade stock has no (added) salt at all. If I use boxed stock I use the 50% less salt. A 5 lb bird is a lot of surface area, too. And I'm with Sheppard on the preheating, you let the chicken come up to room temp, THEN turn on the oven.
Margoes October 28, 2016
Just confirming you take the chicken out of the fridge 1-2 hours before you bake, then bake for 1 hour at 450?
Chuck48 October 28, 2016
And if you spachcock the chicken you will cut the cooking time down by about 20%. The rest of the recipe can remain the same.