Monday, April 25, 2011

Poulet Roti with Thyme Mustard Vinaigrette

Every home cook enthusiast has their personal favorite chef/cook. Some prefer the people who make cooking for their children easier, like Rachel Ray, I prefer Thomas Keller. He is arguably one of the best chefs alive right now, his restaurants Per Se and the French Laundry are culinary meccas for those dining in the US and for good reason. Thomas Keller has said that he would like his last meal ever to be a roasted chicken and for good reason. My own favorite meal that I would ask my mom to make the one chance she had to cook if I came home would definitely be roasted chicken. A nice piece of oven baked chicken with mashed potatoes covered in a massive sea of gravy is heaven to me. Don't tell anyone this, but I gave this plate to Olivia and doused my plate in so much gravy it was spilling off the sides. Fancy sauces are nice now and again, but nothing beats mashed potatoes and chicken gravy. Literally nothing.

This bird was extremely easy to cook and one of the funnest meals I've made, mostly because I was able to rent an extremely nice camera from the library. Roasting a chicken is one of the most basic things you can do in a kitchen. It requires almost no work, actually the hardest part is taking the meat off of it! I followed Thomas Keller's recipe for his chicken, but added a few things. I wanted a bit more aromatic action going on so I added lemon, celery, and carrot.

Recipe for one roasted chicken aka Poulet Roti:
  • One roaster chicken - I think mine was around 6 lbs?
  • Two carrots
  • One large stalk of celery
  • Half of a lemon
  • Pinch of thyme, salt, and pepper
Instead of this being a recipe with lots of steps, it is a recipe with lots of precautions and steps you must take before cooking it. First, remove all the gross stuff from the cavity, save it for stock if you want. Stick in your carrots, celery, and lemon. Now you must truss the chicken, that is how people get their birds' legs to stay up. Most people use butcher's twine, but I used a method adapted from Anthony Bourdain. Take the flap of skin on the edge of the cavity and cut a hole where you could stick the legs through. Work the legs of the chicken through it until they're in the hole chillin nice and comfortably. (You can see how I did it in the pictures, it's not hard at all. It looks kind of like some moustache) Next you must let your chicken rest until it is ROOM TEMPERATURE or as close to ROOM TEMPERATURE as you can get it. This is how you get that nice crust on the chicken. Before you roast it, pat it completely dry until there is no moisture on the outside. This also helps the crust form. Ok, now you're ready to roast! Set your oven to 450 degrees. Pour kosher or sea salt and thyme, if you want to, on your bird. Then stick your chicken in for around an hour (that's how long mine took). Your chicken cooking time will vary based on the weight, but usually when the top looks how it did in the picture you're good. As long as it's not raw, a slightly slightly undercooked chicken is better than a dry, overcooked chicken (at least in my book).

Thyme Mustard Vinaigrette (adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
  • ¼ cups Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar (or White Wine Vinegar)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
  • 2-½ Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice (about 1/2 Lemon)
  • 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Combine all these together and whisk until fully incorporated.

I'm definitely making this again soon, and the best part is yet to come! Check back soon to see what I do with this delicious chicken carcass.


  1. those pictures are SOO SICK.

    ps thanks for actually mentioning my name heh

  2. Awesome!!! And I will definitely make you chicken, gravy and mashed potatoes when you come home.

  3. Laurence, this may-be your calling?? You have so much energy and passion for this it clearly shows. I always have to eat first before looking at your site because it always makes me so hungry!! Keep up the good work.