I had been wanting to try Thomas Keller's famous method for roasting chicken for a while now, but the truth is that these days, I am usually only cooking for one or two. This summer has been so full-to-the-brim with travel, that when we're home, if we're not ordering takeout at 9 PM after arriving home from the airport, we're eating quinoa with olive oil and calling it a night. The idea of roasting a whole chicken seemed like a little much for right now, but I wondered if I could make it with my favorite cheap and individually-sold cut of chicken: the legs.
As it turned out, I definitely could, and, hallelujah, I am now a convert. This is, without a doubt, the best roast chicken I have ever eaten. The skin was outrageously crisp, the inside unbelievably juicy and my belly satisfied beyond belief. Better still, the preparation was absurdly simple.
The trick is in salting the chicken liberally (like, more liberally than you would think), tucking a little garlic and a variety of optional additions like butter, a drizzle of olive oil and/or fresh herbs, and cooking the chicken at a very high heat.
I usually think of roasting chicken as being a relatively low and slow process (350 degrees for 45-50 minutes) but this process calls for a high and slow cooking technique. I was afraid the chicken would overcook or burn, but my fears were immediately assuaged the moment I tasted it.
- 2 whole chicken legs $6
- 4 whole cloves garlic, peeled, ends removed Pantry
- 2 pats unsalted butter Optional
- 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, thyme or rosemary, chopped, Optional
- salt and pepper Pantry
Recipe Serves 2
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
- Use paper towels to carefully dry all sides of the chicken.
- Place 2 garlic cloves under the skin of each chicken thigh.
- If desired, also place a pat of butter, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and/or fresh chopped herbs under the skin as well.
- Make sure the chicken skin is securely pulled back over the garlic and butter/herbs, if using.
- Place the chicken legs in the prepared pan and sprinkle salt all over the skin, adding a bit of pepper as well, to taste.
- Roast the chicken for 40-45 minutes, until the skin becomes very crisp.
- Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve hot.