keller’s ad hoc-inspired roast chicken

“How did you get the skin so crispy?” It was the first thing my husband asked me as he started carving the bird. I took this as an indicator that this recipe, although we had not tasted it yet, was going to be a great one.

roast chicken & veggies

Let me back up a bit. Before I made this, I had only roasted a chicken once before – years ago, when I was just starting to learn to cook. Unfortunately for me, that first chicken had a few scraggly feathers still left on it when I unwrapped it from the grocer’s plastic. Those few chicken feathers immediately conjured up images of happy white-feathered hens clucking around the yard, and that train of thought led me to think of the pet chicken we owned when I was a kid. Dixie was a sweet hen who, in all honesty, thought she was a dog. Her best friend was our dog, Jesse, and she was always at Jesse’s side.

So, those feathers left on that raw chicken made it really difficult for me to roast and cut up the bird. And I certainly did not enjoy one single bite of it. And, because I was acting so squeamish about the whole thing, I’m sure my husband didn’t enjoy it either. He ate it, but I think he was expecting a good case of food poisoning after the experience.

chicken

But this is a new era for me. Time – and practice in the kitchen – have helped me become less squeamish about handling raw meats, including chickens with scraggly feathers left on them. So, I decided it was time to roast a chicken again.

I’ve mentioned this before, but Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home is a fantastic book, and he has a wonderful recipe on page 22 for roasting a whole chicken on a bed of root vegetables. What I love about his recipes is that he gives great tips before each recipe for how to ensure a perfect result. At the beginning of this recipe, Keller says,

The root vegetables make a bed for the chicken, and the rendering fat and juices from the chicken flavor the vegetables. If you have a big cast-iron skillet, use that.

roasting veggies

For the crispy skin, which was the first thing my husband noticed, Keller advises,

We also often leave it uncovered in the refrigerator for a day or two, which dries the skin and thus helps it to crisp during the roasting.

Adam Roberts of The Amateur Gourmet has written a post detailing the recipe from Keller’s book, so I’ll refer you there for the details.

I used the vegetables that I had on hand, which did not include the rutabagas, leeks, and turnips that the recipe calls for. Instead I used some red new potatoes, small Yukon gold potatoes, a yellow onion, and some carrots. I also used the new Lodge cast-iron skillet I purchased about a month ago. And, since I didn’t know that I was going to roast a chicken two days prior to making it, my chicken sat uncovered in the fridge for about six hours.

roasting veggies

And the chicken? It had intensely flavorful, crispy skin and was moist and tender on the inside. The vegetables were the most flavorful roast vegetables I’ve ever made, thanks to the rendered chicken fat in the skillet. I still need to practice my chicken trussing technique, but that’s simply a cosmetic issue.

roast chicken & veggies

So, thank you, Mr. Keller, for the perfect recipe for reintroducing me to roasting a chicken.

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16 Responses to “roasted shrimp with rosemary and thyme”

  1. Dr. Bob — May 8, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

    You did this as an afternoon snack?

    Holy culinary indulgence.

  2. Karen — May 8, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

    We love shrimp and have done this same thing for a snack with a glass of wine and some crackers… YUM!

  3. Jason Phelps — May 8, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

    Simple and elegant, most awesome! If I were to suggest a wine to pair with it I would reccomend a Pinot Gris. I had one from Lange in the Willamette Valley in OR recently that went nicely with a range of foods including shrimp.

    Hungry now….

    Jason

  4. Chef Dennis — May 8, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

    great job with the shrimp!! I don’t know what the impact from the oil spill will be….so much of our shrimp comes from the gulf.

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  6. merrygourmet
    merrygourmet — May 8, 2010 @ 8:49 pm

    Dr. Bob – You know, when you get that shrimp craving, you just have to give in. Doesn’t matter what time of day or night.

    Karen & Jason – A glass of wine would have been perfect! And Pinot Gris sounds like a fantastic idea.

    Dennis – We’re keeping our fingers crossed that things turn out better than we think they will. Thanks for the compliments, by the way!

  7. Biz — May 9, 2010 @ 10:28 am

    I’ve never considered roasting shrimp before – genius!

  8. Liren — May 9, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

    Beautiful shrimp! The beauty is in its simplicity – you can just taste the shrimp – I love that it’s not fussy! I do hope that there will be minimal impact from the oil spill and that we will be able to continue enjoying the bevy of seafood that comes from your part of the country! Oh, and I agree with Jason – a Pinot Gris would be wonderful with this!

  9. skip to malou — May 9, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

    i love shrimp, not only because it takes a few minutes to cook them but they always bring the “wow” on the table… just l ike your roasted shrimp with rosemary and thyme… it sounds and looks elegant…. nice plating too!

  10. Maria at Fresh Eats — May 9, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

    Roasted shrimp has been on my mind lately, too. Your rendition looks marvelous.

  11. Winnie — May 9, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

    Gorgeous!!!

  12. lisaiscooking — May 9, 2010 @ 8:25 pm

    Your shrimp look fantastic! The rosemary and thyme sound lovely. I’ve been worrying about the state of Gulf seafood as well. I live in Austin, and our shrimp comes from the Gulf.

  13. Sounds both super simple and amazing at the same time. Mm. It can never go wrong with shrimp!

  14. Mark — May 10, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

    This sounds and looks like a great recipe! Thanks!

  15. Dawn Hutchins — May 11, 2010 @ 2:27 pm

    I came across your photo on Tastespotting and saw St Augustine shrimp…I’m out of St. Johns Florida myself! We go to the St. Augustine farmers market all the time!

    These look great. I love the abundance of seafood in this area. I will have to read the article about the oil spill. It makes me ill just thinking about it.

    • merrygourmet

      merrygourmet replied: — May 11th, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

      Nice to have you here, Dawn! You definitely have an abundance of fantastic seafood where you live and shop. I bet the St. Augustine farmer’s market is wonderful!

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