I think it’s hard to improve on a simple roast chicken, but the moment I tried it Thomas Keller’s way, I think it will be hard to prepare a roast chicken any other way!
Earlier this year, my husband and I spent 4 amazing days in Las Vegas. As with any trip to a new city, I always research the food and restaurants in the area beforehand, planning most of our meals long before we even arrive. And who knew that Las Vegas would be such a foodie paradise??!! Vegas is known for being excessive and with restaurants owned by the likes of Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Nobu and Mario Batali (to name a few), why travel anywhere else when you can just go to Vegas??
One restaurant I was most excited about visiting was Thomas Keller’s Bouchon. We had dinner there one evening and then brunch a few days later. Both visits left us feel very content, though I also felt a pang of regret for not having had more meals at Bouchon!
One dish I couldn’t wait try and recreate at home after indulging myself at brunch that weekend was the Roast Chicken with Bacon & Chive Waffles. Come to think of it, a restaurant meal rarely inspires me to recreate a dish at home, but there was something about Bouchon … something about all of that lovely French bistro, home-style cooking.
Though, I’m not sure if there is anything French about these waffles. I searched the internet high and low for recipes for savoury waffles and only came across a few. In the end, I took Rachel Allen’s recipe for waffles and improvised a bit. The result was, I’m pleased to say, very good!
But the roast chicken … once you’ve tried it this way, you won’t look back – I promise! Thomas Keller has a recipe for roast chicken in his Bouchon cookbook which requires you to brine the chicken for about 6 hours. The brine is a lovely mixture of water, salt, black peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, honey and lemon. All of these flavours are imparted into the chicken, producing a wonderfully flavoured bird. Just before roasting, all you need to do is salt and pepper the chicken – nothing else. And the brine dehydrates the skin to produce a really crispy and golden skin.
I will definitely be brining my chickens from hereon! There is nothing difficult about it at all – you’ll just need to plan a bit more ahead when making roast chicken.