The Best Roast Chicken with Pan Sauce, Revisited

October 13, 2016
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
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

  • Serves 8
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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).

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