Roast chicken with soft dark meat

Roast chicken with soft dark meat


I swear I have figured out the best way to
roast a chicken at home. The problem with whole chicken is that the
white meat up here is best when it’s just barely cooked through. But the dark meat down here, the legs, the
thighs, this stuff is best when it’s been cooked to smithereens, and it’s just falling
apart and sticky and glistening with rendered fat. I have found for myself a very simple way
to cook the dark meat far longer and hotter than the white meat without doing anything
crazy like carving up the bird before you cook it. So the first thing that I do is the thing
that I learned from watching Thomas Keller, which is to take the wishbone out. Right up where the neck used to be, you just
trace around the wishbone with your knife, and then you dig in with your fingers and
pull it out. This wishbone was broken before I got to it. That is common I find with grocery store chickens. The wishbone is often broken, so it came out
in two pieces instead of one. That’s fine. Taking the wishbone out now makes carving
a lot easier later. Then what I do is score the legs. I make cuts straight down to the bone, score
the legs. This will help the legs to cook a lot quicker. And I score the thighs once or twice too. I stuff some aromatics up the chicken. I stuff some onion up there, some lemon, rosemary,
garlic. Not only will all of this stuff flavor the
chicken, it will also slow down the cooking of the breast, because hot air won’t be
able to circulate around the cavity as well. Now don’t truss the chicken, do not tie
the legs together to make it look all pretty. Just leave the legs hanging open, because
the legs need the heat to circulate around them if they’re going to cook thoroughly
as I want them to cook. Pour some olive oil in a pan sit the bird
into it. More olive oil on top, and then seasoning,
lots of salt, lots of pepper, and I do like a little garlic powder as well. Garlic powder is a great kitchen cheat, it
is just instant umami. Then, turn the burner on medium high, and
cook the chicken on the stovetop for a good 10 minutes before it ever goes in the oven. Just cooking it on the stovetop, medium-high
heat. When you do this, the heat barely reaches
the breast, because the breast is up in the air, it’s not against the pan. Well actually, the one part of the breast
that does touch the pan is that super-thick part up by the head that always takes a lot
longer to cook than the rest of the breast, so that’s fine that that’s getting a head start here. What’s really cooking here are the thighs,
which are right on the bottom of the pan. The thick part of the legs, too, you can see
here they are starting to turn opaque where they’re up against the pan. When you see the heat creeping up the thick
part of the breast like this, that’s when it’s time to throw the pan into a 400-degree
oven. 400 Fahrenheit. Now this chicken needed about an hour before the
breast came to a temperature of 160 Fahrenheit, which is what you want, it’s gonna go up
five more degrees while it rests. The dark meat at this stage is surely much
hotter, which is what I want, I want it cooked until it falls apart. If you have a convection oven you’re gonna
get a much prettier, much more even brown color than what I’ve got here, and it’ll cook
quicker as well. I really wish that I had a convection oven
but I don’t. Anyway, now you rest the chicken for a long
time. Rest it for at least a half an hour. This is my roasting pan, with the rendered
fat and the juice and all of the aromatics that I stuffed into the cavity, I will use this to
make gravy. I make a roux with the fat. Very tasty, very nice. Now we will carve it. First you cut off the leg, and then the dark
meat is just so cooked that you can pull the thighs off with your hands, you don’t
need to cut through the joint or anything. Just root around with your fingers and pull
out the oyster and any other dark meat bits that are still clinging to the carcass. Then I cut the legs off from the thigh bone,
and those scored legs are really delicious, by the way. And then with the thighs, I just pull the
meat off the bone in chunks with my fingers, it’s like barbeque, it’s so soft. I just pull it off into little chunks and
put it onto my plate. And by the way, I do microwave my plate before
I do this, get the plate hot in the microwave. That way when I put this thinly sliced and
well-rested chicken onto the plate, it doesn’t go instantaneously cold. The plate actually heats the chicken back
up again. That’s my little secret. But anyway. Because we took out the wishbone, we can just
easily cut the whole breast and its wing right off of the carcass. Cut off the wing, the wing is falling apart
it’s cooked so well, it’s very tasty. But the breast is only just done, and I like
to slice it against the grain like this, which makes it more tender. See, the breast slices are moist, they’re
not overcooked, they’re done perfectly. And there you go, I think that this is the
best way of cooking a chicken at home. I’ve tried all the ways, this is the best. Juicy, just-cooked white meat and falling-apart
dark meat. Let me know if it works for you.

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