Monday, June 17, 2013

Roast Chicken with Pesto and Potatoes

After making pesto and having quite a lot of it left after making the stuffed burgers, I couldn't dream of doing anything but making that same chicken recipe I'd talked about. This time around I'm going to do it with all of my current know-how along with that homemade pesto. And an expensive chicken. I have a feeling it's going to be awesome.

The original recipe includes chicken stock that you're supposed to add to the pan for making sauce once the chicken and potatoes are done. Remembering how good the chicken turned out when I did it almost 20 years ago, I knew I wouldn't need the pan sauce and skipped it.

Roast Chicken with Pesto and Potatoes
adapted from Epicurious
click to print

about 1 c pesto
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
6-lb roasting chicken
2 lbs medium-size red-skinned potatoes, quartered
fresh-ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Stir pesto and garlic in medium bowl to blend.

Transfer 1 tablespoon pesto mixture to small bowl and reserve for sauce.

Spread half of pesto mixture under the skin, over outside, and inside the cavity of the chicken. Truss the bird if you like.

Place potatoes in large roasting pan and toss with remaining pesto mixture.

I should've added a little more oil in the pan.

Push potatoes to sides of pan; place chicken in center.

The recipe didn't suggest trussing the bird, but I opted to do a quick truss by cutting a slit into each side of the skin flaps near the cavity and jamming a leg into each slit. Bourdain explains it with much more description in his Les Halles Cookbook. And then I was paranoid so tied the legs together with twine. The twine was probably not necessary.

Sprinkle chicken and potatoes with salt and pepper.

Roast until thermometer inserted into breast registers 165°F and potatoes are brown and tender, about 70-80 minutes.

I had set my probe to beep once the chicken reached 160°F assuming the chicken temperature would reach the USDA/Food Network recommended 165°F while standing. My bird was in the oven for 70 minutes.

Transfer chicken and potatoes to platter.

Had I added more oil earlier, the chicken back skin probably would not have stuck to the pan. If you notice the temperature meter, it says the chicken breast is up to 171°F - that's a 6 degree difference in less than 5 minutes.

Serve chicken with potatoes.

Twenty minutes into the oven and I was dying, it smelled so good. I'd set my temperature probe to beep when the breast reached 160°F and the temperature was zooming up so fast it was to 165 by the time I got the bird out of the oven. Next time, I'll set the probe to beep at 155°F knowing that the temperature will rise another 10 degrees. To try and keep myself from cutting into the bird too quickly, the bird and potatoes were transferred to plates. Skipping the sauce (I wouldn't eat anyway), I squirted some soap in the roasting pan and got some hot water in there before putting the Brussels sprouts on.

And man, the potatoes, the potatoes! So freakin' good! The majority came out with nice crusty exteriors, just very mildly seasoned, with the ultimate interior texture, just perfect. The chicken, while the rest might be dry from my letting it rest only a brief time, is spot on. Exquisitely seasoned (man, I used Maldon's and it is awesome) with hints of pesto the bird is extremely juicy. The sandwiches this will make!!

Oh, and I liked the simple truss technique. It's not nearly as fussy and annoying as trussing with twine. Click the pic if you want to see how the Bourdain truss looks after cooking.

  • pesto: $6.11
  • garlic cloves: $0.32
  • chicken: $11.38
  • red-skinned potatoes: $1.38
Total: $19.19 or about $4.80 for each of four big servings.