Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Roast of a Chicken

A few weeks ago I signed up for a blogger's game of Recipe Telephone put together by FoodBlogSouth, an organization that hosts an annual conference of food bloggers in Birmingham, AL (yes, I will be going in 2013!). The idea is based on the old game of "Telephone," in which someone in a group starts a secret, and as it gets passed from person to person miscommunication naturally occurs and the ending message is completely changed. Hilarity ensues. In Recipe Telephone, FoodBlogSouth published a roast chicken recipe, and passed it on to the first blogger in the series with instructions to change, add, or omit 3-5 ingredients. The next blogger took that recipe and did the same. And so on. Counting the very first recipe, I am number 5.

The blogger who preceded me is none other than Nancie McDermott, the author of my two favorite dessert cookbooks: Southern Cakes and Southern Pies. I have already referred to these books many times on my blog. Yeah, I think she's completely awesome, but whatevs. When I saw my name and blog title on her blog, I definitely did not squeal. Loudly. Or make every person who passed my office door come in to see. Or go to everybody else's office to make sure they had heard. Nope. Didn't do any of that...

Not me (Bus-ted)

At any rate, here we are and it's my turn. Ms. McDermott posted a scrumptious-looking Thai-inspired roast chicken, but as it was my first ever whole roast chicken I decided to keep it simple. Well, except for lighting the thing on fire. But...we'll get to that. 

Roast Poulet, en Flambé
With Roasted, Toasted Sunrise Medley Potatoes



For Bird:
1 small chicken (mine was a pee-wee at 3.43 lbs)
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
oil of your choosing, for skin of chicken (I used pecan oil)
freshly ground pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
1/2 cup cognac 

For Potatoes:  
28 oz Sunrise Medley potatoes (baby yukons, red, and purple)
3-5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and stems discarded
one medium yellow onion
2 cloves crushed (not minced) garlic 
2 tablespoons oil (again, pecan for me)
freshly ground pepper, to taste
salt, to taste

It's best to let the chicken sit open in the fridge overnight to dry out the skin, but at least leave it out of the fridge completely for 30 minutes before roasting. 
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Slice all potatoes in half lengthwise and put in pan. Crush garlic and cut onion into 1/2" chunks and add to potatoes. Add thyme. Drizzle oil over potatoes, dust liberally with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. I didn't this time, but I wish I had: turn all potatoes with cut side to the pan. The juices from the chicken combine with the oil and caramelizing onion and garlic and subsequently caramelize the cut side of the potato, which develops a to-die-for crust. It is so. Good. Do this now, thank me later.


 Pat chicken dry and turn it breast-side up. Carefully break the membrane connecting the skin to the breast meat. Put one tablespoon of butter on each side of the breast, then, using a teaspoon on the outside of the skin, spread the butter evenly over breast meat. Carefully lift the skin again and sprinkle meat with salt. Alternately, use salted butter.

Drizzle oil over skin of chicken, and rub to coat evenly. Next, sprinkle the chicken all over with salt and freshly ground pepper. Rub to coat evenly. Place chicken on top of potatoes, breast side down. I know what you're thinking here, but stay with me. 

Place roasting pan in the center of the oven, and set your timer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove chicken from oven and turn over, breast side up. This ensures that for the last 15-20 minutes of cooking, the skin on the breast meat gets all the love. I have to thank my old boss and mentor, Charlotte, for this hint. 

After 45-50 minutes, when the temperature inside the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F, remove chicken from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. What once looked like that ^ should now look like:

 Finally, the moment we've all been waiting for: heat cognac slightly in a saucepan, pour over chicken, and light immediately. The alcohol burns off and flavors the chicken and potatoes nicely. Plus it's a fun party trick. 

Success! And believe me, it was delicious. Between mom, Adam, and myself that bird was destroyed in approximately 15 minutes. 

 I hope you enjoyed my recipe! The recipe passes next to Erin Brighton at

Y'all come back now! I'll fix you some chicken!

 All photos by Adam Rewis


Adam Rewis said...

That was delicious!
And I enjoyed the ceremonial Lighting of the Bird.

Oh, the Humidity! said...

Thank you! :D

life, in recipes said...

Well, I never even considered setting it on fire! Genius. I'll have to give that a go.

I'm really enjoying seeing everyone's variations on this. Look forward to meeting in person at FBS.

Oh, the Humidity! said...

Likewise! And yes, this has been a great experience. Thanks for commenting!

Erin / Cooking With Erin said...

Michal! You set the bar high with the chicken on fire! I am impressed. I tried to continue your boozy theme and pair my chicken with some drunken carrots... This was fun! So glad to read this recipe and check out some new southern food blogs!

Oh, the Humidity! said...

Thanks, Erin! Your recipe looks great too :D

Aimee @ Menus and Meals for Moms said...

I feel the need to set the next chicken I roast ablaze! Looks delish!

Oh, the Humidity! said...

Thanks, Aimee! It is pretty exciting...just watch your eyebrows ;)

Post a Comment