While this may not be the recipe you want to try while going through a heat wave as we seem to be here in New York the last couple of days, there are times where high roasting a chicken can be an ideal strategy. When you may not have a great amount of time to spend roasting a chicken and would like that wonderfully crispy skin that you can get from roasting you can give it a try. The danger with high roasting of course is that you can really dry out the meat and create a lot of smoke if you aren’t careful. This recipe, from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, combats both problems. They butterfly the chicken so it stays moist and roast it on a broiler pan over potatoes so that potatoes absorb the dripping fat, thus no smoke and a very nice side dish is created all in one.
Crisp-Skin High-Roast Butterflied Chicken and Potatoes
1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) whole chicken, giblets removed
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced to 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened
With a pair of kitchen or poultry shears, cut along both sides of the backbone of the chicken to remove it. Flatten the breastbone and tuck the wings behind the back. Dissolve 1/2 cup of salt and the sugar in 2 quarts of cold water in a large container. Submerge the chicken in the brine, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour (if you are using a kosher chicken you can skip this step).
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Line a broiler pan bottom with aluminum foil. Toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper in a bowl. Spread the potatoes evenly in the prepared broiler pan bottom and cover them with the broiler pan top.
Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse it thoroughly and pat it dry with paper towels. Using your fingers, gently loosen the center portion of skin covering the breast and thighs. Place the softened butter under the skin directly on the meat in the center of each side of the breast and on the thighs. Gently press on the skin to distribute the butter over the meat.Rub the skin with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season well with pepper. Place the chicken on the broiler pan top and push each leg up to rest between the thigh and the breast.
Roast the chicken until the skin has crisped and turned a deep brown, the breast registers 160 degrees and the thighs register 175 degrees, about 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the roasting. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
While the chicken rests, remove the broiler pan top and, using paper towels, soak up any excess grease from the potatoes. Transfer the potatoes to a serving platter. Carve the chicken, transfer it to a platter with the potatoes and serve.
There’s nothing like really crispy chicken and this recipe sure gives it to you. The potatoes were also a great treat as well since they absorb some of the flavor of the chicken as well. I actually put them under the broiler for a few minutes while the chicken rested to crisp them up a bit before they were done. I had also put one sliced onion in with the potatoes for some extra flavor. I think you could try this if you have a lot of chicken pieces you are looking to cook, but you need to keep a close eye on them as they will cook faster than the whole chicken and you don’t want to dry them out. It’s a great way to get a juicy, whole bird with great skin in under an hour. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of this one when I cooked it so I don’t have one to display, but trust me, it was great.
That’s all for today. Check back next time for some more recipes, including a chicken stir fry, pork tenderloin, a panzanella salad and more. I am planning to cook out on the grill some this week since it is warm here right now, so we’ll see what we can do. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day, and enjoy your meal!