I officially have been out of college one year! Oh how time flies!
I didn’t walk in my graduation and thus don’t have a cap and gown photo (much to my parents chagrin), but I do have a diploma. I do not regret not participating in graduation one bit… Mainly because instead we took a family vacation to San Francisco and Napa Valley!
As I didn’t have my blog back then (and not posting pictures on the Internet means the event really never happened), I figured I’d share some photos from that trip now! It was great all in all – we spent two days in San Fran, having some great meals and doing some touristy stuff and then drove up to Napa. There we did a few vineyard tours and wine tastings (carted around in a limo no less) and had a fabulous meal at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc (one of the best of my life thus far!).
And that meal we had at Ad Hoc…. assorted anti-pasti…. veal cutlets with creamy polenta with prosciutto… meatballs with tomato marmalade… and vanilla poundcake… amazing!
This past weekend, I decided (in the spirit of classy Sunday night meals) to make my first official roast chicken (as I’ve really never made a proper one before). And so to also celebrate my first year as a college grad, I made Thomas Keller’s own Ad Hoc Roast Chicken with Vegetables recipe!
I think the secret to this recipe is both letting your chicken come to room temperature prior to roasting (as is the case with roasting any poultry or meat in general for even cooking) and letting the chicken dry out so the skin can become extra crispy (this would mean keeping the chicken in the fridge uncovered for 1-2 days… but I only let it sit for about 4 hours and the skin was amazingly crisp even then, either way!).
Per Thomas Keller’s instructions, I prepped my vegetables, seasoned the bird inside with salt, pepper and thyme sprigs, doused it with seasonings and olive oil and finally dotted it with butter.
Stick it in the oven at 475 degrees F for 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400 and continue roasting for 45 minutes et voila! Or so I thought..
I will admit though… This was not all smooth sailing. I thought my chicken was ready WAY before it was and it was only through the guidance of my Turkish cooking guru that I cooked the damn thing long enough. I even used a meat thermometer and everything (so I really don’t know where I went wrong).
I am a perfectionist and stubborn and apparently do not know how to make a roast chicken. Thank god, someone can save me from myself. I guess I just need to trust my culinary abilities! But all in all, small cooking snafu (and another 30 minutes in the oven) aside, it was amazing! The vegetables were soft and tender with great flavor from the chicken’s juices and the chicken’s skin was perfectly crispy!
- One 4 to 4½ lb chicken
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 2 large leeks
- 3 tennis-ball-sized rutabagas
- 2 tennis-ball-sized turnips
- 4 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut in half
- 1 small yellow onion, trimed, leaving root end intact, and cut into quarters
- 8 small (golf-ball-sized) red-skinned potatoes
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1½ to 2 hours, or until it comes to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 475 F.
- Remove the neck and innards if they are still in the cavity of the chicken. Using a paring knife, cut out the wishbone from the chicken. (This will make it easier to carve the chicken.) Generously season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper, add 3 of the garlic cloves and 5 sprigs of thyme, and massage the inside of the bird to infuse it with the flavors. Truss the chicken.
- Cut off the dark green leaves from the top of the leeks. Trim off and discard the darkened outer layers. Trim the root ends, cutting around them on a 45-degree angle. Slit the leeks lengthwise almost in half, starting ½ inch above the root ends. Rinse the leeks well under warm water.
- Cut off both ends of the rutabagas. Stand the rutabagas on end and cut away the skin, working from top to bottom and removing any tough outer layers. Cut into ¾-inch wedges. Repeat with the turnips, cutting the wedges to match the size of the rutabagas.
- Combine all the vegetables and remaining garlic cloves and thyme sprig in a large bowl. Toss with ¼ cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables in a large cast-iron skillet or a roasting pan.
- Rub the remaining oil over the chicken. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Make a nest in the center of the vegetables and nestle the chicken in it.
- Cut the butter into 4 or 5 pieces and place over the chicken breast.
- Put the chicken in the oven and roast for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400 F and roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until the temperature registers 160 F in the meatiest portions of the bird–the thighs, and under the breast where the thigh meets the breast–and the juices run clear. If necessary, return the bird to the oven for more roasting; check it every 5 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Just before serving, set the pan of vegetables over medium heat and reheat the vegetables, turning them and glaazing them with the pan juices.
- Cut the chicken into serving pieces, arrange over the vegetables and serve.