Every cook needs a tried-and-true roasted chicken recipe.
This truffle-studded bird is succulent, juicy and refined enough for a celebratory meal, yet simple enough to serve at a cozy family dinner. Traci Des Jardins shows us how to roast a whole chicken step by step, from market to table. She starts with a fresh, organic, free-range chicken, chosen for its full and distinctive flavor, and then slides thin slices of fresh black truffle under the skin of the breasts and legs to permeate and perfume every part of the bird. Traci browns the bird under high heat and then slowly roasts it, basting the chicken with the browning truffle butter and fat that is rendered as it cooks, so that every bite is full of rich truffle flavor.
- The secret to crispy skin. Rinse and dry the bird, paying special attention to the cavity. Excess moisture will steam the bird, but proper drying will help the skin get deliciously crispy.
- A hands-on approach. Gently glide your hand between the skin and the meat of the bird. By separating the skin, you’ll create space to evenly disperse the truffle slices under the breasts as well as the legs.
- Crank up the heat. Start the roasting process at very high heat to help the skin brown and crisp evenly, and then turn the heat down to slow roast the bird, which keeps the meat nice and juicy.
This tool is one we find especially helpful when making this dish.
- Truffle slicer/mandolin. The best tools for shaving the truffles into super-thin slices are a hand-held truffle slicer with a razor-sharp blade or a small mandolin.
The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.
- Baking sheet with paper towels
- Baking sheet with rack
- Butchers twine and scissors
- Truffle slicer/or mandoline
- Slicer knife
- Cutting board and knife
- 1 (4-pound) whole chicken, preferably free-range and organic
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces and softened
- 1 (2 1/2-ounce) Perigord truffle*
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* No truffles? A sprig of thyme or lemon slices act as a flavorful replacement for truffles in the roasted chicken.
Total time: 1 ½ hours
Active time: 25 minutes
- Preheat oven to 450°F
- Rinse chicken and pat dry inside and out with paper towels. Turn it breast side up and starting at the tail end of the chicken cavity, work your hands beneath the skin to separate the skin from the breast, up to the neck. Take care not to tear the skin. Work your hands to the top part of the wing bone and around the thighs and down the legs.
- Make sure your hands and work surface are clean. Using a mandolin, shave the truffle as thinly as possible, reserving scraps of truffle for the herb salad.
- Rub the softened butter beneath the skin all along the areas where you loosened the skin.
- Gently layer the truffle slices beneath the skin of the chicken, lining the breast and reaching as far back to the legs as well.
- Season the interior of the chicken cavity with salt and pepper. Rub the remaining butter on the exterior of the chicken taking care not to shift the truffle slices beneath the skin and generously salt and lightly pepper the outside of the bird.
- To truss the chicken, fold back the chicken wings and tuck them beneath the body. Wrap a piece of butcher’s twine fully around the tail, pull the legs together and cross one over the other. Pull the twine up and over the legs, tying them tightly together.
- Place chicken in roasting pan or on a baking sheet set over a rack. Roast in the oven until the skin is browned and crispy, for about 20-30 minutes for approximately 10 minutes before slicing.
- Reduce the temperature to 350°F and cook until the meat at the thickest part of the breast is 150-155°F, about 20 to 25 minutes. If the legs are not cooked through, detach them from the body, and continue to cook them until they read 150-155°F.
- Allow the chicken to rest for 20 minutes before slicing. To slice, remove the legs from the body, cutting through the natural lines of the bird where the joints meet. Remove the wings from the breast. Then cut down the backbone and remove a breast half in one big piece. Repeat with the remaining breast half. (Try to keep the skin crisp and intact.) Cut the breast into 1-inch slices. Separate the legs into drumstick and thigh.
Roasted chicken with sautéed mushrooms & vegetables
With or without the truffles, this roast chicken is delicious alongside some sautéed mushrooms and a side of green vegetables, like haricot verts.