Family Dinner Roast Chicken with Shallots and Tarragon
By Chef Jet
November 14, 2019
Every cook needs to know how to roast a perfect chicken. There are three critical steps: 1. Season the bird inside and out with a dry or wet brine. I like dry because it means fewer steps and most birds are already pumped with saline and will therefore be moist. 2. Dry the bird overnight in the fridge to get perfect crispy and delicious skin. 3. Learn a simple pan sauce made from pan drippings, herbs and butter. Once you master the chicken, these same steps can be applied to any roast beast.
1The day before serving, generously season the inside of the bird with the salt and pepper, then place the shallot quarters, garlic and tarragon sprigs in the cavity of the chicken.
2Take the 2 tablespoons (28 g) softened butter with gloved hands and rub the bird generously inside and out, covering the bird with a thin coating. Season generously with salt and pepper. Gather the skin on both sides of the cavity and thread a bamboo skewer through flaps of skin to sew it the best you can. Don’t worry about trying to make a surgical stitch. Place on a parchment-lined half sheet pan. Refrigerate overnight, uncovered, to allow the skin to air-dry.
3One hour before roasting, take the chicken out of the refrigerator to allow it to come up to room temperature. Set the oven shelf to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray a roasting rack with cooking spray and set in a half sheet pan or other roasting pan.
4Roast the chicken for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 to 170 degrees F (74 to 77 degrees C) on an instant-read thermometer. Carefully remove the pan from the oven; tip the bird to let the juices from the cavity run into the roasting pan. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest, uncovered, while making the sauce. Let the liquid rest so that the fat floats to the top, and pour off as much of the fat as possible.
5Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour the reserved chicken juices and bits into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the sauce until thick, rich and brown in color. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon (4 g) of chopped tarragon and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons (28 g) butter until it melts and makes a sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
6Break down the chicken into your desired pieces or cuts. You can roast under the broiler until the skin is crispy, if desired; serve hot with the warm pan sauce.
7Chef Tip: “Dry brining” simply means seasoning the bird and letting it marinate rather than submerging it completely in a saltwater solution. Air-drying in the fridge uncovered helps make the skin super golden brown and delicious.
1 (3.5–4-lb. [1.6–1.8-g]) whole chicken
2 tsp(12 g) kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tspfreshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste