Thursday, April 24, 2014

Whole Roasted Chicken on a Bed of Root Vegetables

Roasted Chicken on a Bed of Root Vegetables

After dining at ad hoc restaurant multiple times in the past month, I decided to buy the cookbook: ad hoc at home.  I've always loved Thomas Keller restaurants but Ad hoc is truly special.  It's one of my favorite restaurants in the greater Bay Area, and definitely a must every time I go up to Napa.  I love how it's simple foods you can cook at home using equipment you own at home, but done way better than you.

Inspired to go back to basics, I decided to make one recipe per week from the book.  The first recipe I made out of the book was one of Thomas Keller's signature dishes: whole roasted chicken on XYZ, depending on the season, and in this case whole roasted chicken on a bed of root vegetables.  I know root veggies are technically winter veggies, but I saw them at the farmer's market and had to snag a few before summer kicks in.

The perfect one-pot meal!  I love this dish since it's so full of flavor and so simple!


  • 1 4-4.5lb Chicken (organic, pasture raised, you know the deal)
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves of Garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 6 sprigs of Thyme
  • 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, trimmed, leaving root end intact, and cut into quarters
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted Butter, at room temperature

Instructions (p.22 in ad hoc at home):
  1. Gather ingredients.  Let the chicken stand at room temperature for about 1.5-2 hours before roasting it, or until it comes to room temperature.  You could also leave it uncovered in the fridge for a day or two, which dries the skin and thus helps it to become crisp during roasting.  Preheat the oven to 475F.
    2. Dry chicken
  2. Remove the neck and innards if they're 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.
  3. Truss the chicken.
    3. Thomas Keller teaches how to truss a chicken.
  4. Cut off the dark green leaves from the top of the leeks.  Trim off and discard any darkened outer layers.  Trim the root ends, cutting around them on a 45-degree angle.  Slit the leeks lengthwise almost in half, starting 1/2 inch above the root ends.  Rinse the leeks well under warm water.
  5. 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 3/4-inch wedges.  Repeat with turnips, cutting the wedges to match the size of the rutabagas.  
  6. Combine all the vegetables and the remaining garlic clove and thyme sprig in a large bowl.  Toss with 1/4 cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the vegetables in a large cast iron skillet or a roasting pan.
    4. Veggies
  7. Rub the remaining oil all over the chicken.  Season generously with salt and pepper.
  8. 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 it over the chicken breast.
    5. Ready to go into the oven!
  9. Put the chicken in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 400F and roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until the temperature registers 160F 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, checking every 5 minutes.
    6. Whole Roasted Chicken on a Bed of Root Vegetables
  10. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  11. Just before serving, set the pan of vegetables over medium heat and reheat the vegetables, turning them and glazing them with the pan juices.
  12. Cut the chicken into serving pieces, arrange over the vegetables, serve and enjoy!
Such a simple recipe, but tough to get right.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!