Hey, what’s up guys, welcome back to Basics with Babish, where this week we’re taking a look at something very basic indeed: the whole roasted chicken. This is something that you could just throw together, hit with some salt and pepper, put it in the oven, and it would come out ‘okay’. But we could elevate it, we can make it better than that. And we’re going to use a few simple techniques to make our chicken crispy, juicy, flavorful… and then we’re going to finish it all, with a delicious gremolata. This is how you wanna have your whole roasted chicken. Now, let’s get down to basics. [Intro music] Basics with Babish and the all-new basicswithbabish.com are brought to you by Squarespace. Head there now to check out recipes from the show, kitchen equipment lists, my personal blog posts, and more. Get 10% off your first Squarespace order with offer code “Babish”. Whether you need a domain, website, or online store, make your next move with Squarespace. Alright, so last week we broke down our bird, but this week we’re keeping it in one piece with the exception of removing the spine. We’re going to spatchcock, or butterfly, this bird which evenly exposes all the skin to the heat so it can crisp up better, and also exposes the thighs and drums to more heat so they can cook more quickly than they would if they were tucked underneath the body of the bird, which is a good thing because we want the thighs to reach a target temperature of about 175˚F, almost 20˚ higher than where we want our breasts to be. So once we’ve carefully snipped along the length of the spine, which you can definitely hang onto for making stock, we’re going to place a snip in the center of the breastbone so we can crack the bird open like so. Another advantage of having a flat piece of poultry, be it a chicken or a turkey, is that it cooks faster. This is going to cook in about 45 minutes and a full-sized turkey could cook in as little as two hours. And as you can see, to prevent the wing tips from burning, I am tucking them underneath the breasts. And that’s about all there is to it. Now I’m going to place it on a foil-lined baking sheet, top with a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme. This is going to help imbue the meat with flavor as it cures in salt for the next twenty-four hours. Why the salt cure? Well, because it more deeply flavors the meat, and more importantly, it desiccates the skin. The more moisture you draw out of the skin, the crispier it’s gonna get. For an even crispier skin, you could pre-mix your kosher salt with a teaspoon or two of baking powder before refrigerating overnight. Now it’s time to prepare a mixture of herbs and butter to rub underneath the skin to more deeply flavor the meat. I’m going to go with the same herbs as before, rosemary and thyme, but you can mix this up. Use sage, use marjoram, or tarragon, or savory. No matter what you use, we’re going to combine it with some softened butter. And because I’m feeling frisky today, I’m going to add a solid tablespoon or two of bacon fat, something you should always save from making your bacon and keep it in the fridge. You’ll notice that I’m not measuring anything, these are all kind of arbitrary amounts. You get a feel for how much you need depending on what size chicken you’re cooking. For instance, if I were making a turkey, I’d probably be making twice as much butter mixture as this. Make sure that’s all well-incorporated and soft. If it’s too soft, throw it back in the fridge for a minute until it’s firmed up a bit. We want it to be a sort of paste-like consistency because we’re going to rub it underneath the skin. Now, you’ll see there’s a membrane near the top of the breast that we need to gently break through to access the skin below, and we want our butter and herb mixture as evenly and deeply distributed as possible. So make sure you press as deep as you can so there’s more room for flavors and fat. We’re going to do the same for the thighs and drumsticks starting at the top of the thigh and working our way all the way down into the bottom of the drumstick. Now, using a spoon and gloved hands, we’re going to insert our butter-herb mixture underneath the skin. This might seem like a lot of trouble, but you will not believe the difference it makes in the flavor and consistency of your roast chicken. So make sure you get as much of that stuff in there as you possibly can until the underskin is sort of bespeckled with green. And because we’re kinda going all out here, let’s rub the entire thing down with a bit more bacon fat. Do you really think that’s going to hurt it? I don’t think so. I don’t remember the last time bacon fat hurt anything, except my… arteries. Now we’ve brushed off all the salt that this chicken was packed in so it’s plenty salty but it still needs a few twists of freshly-ground pepper. If you don’t have time to dry-brine in the fridge, don’t worry about it. Just season with kosher salt and roast it 450˚ Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes, during which time we’re going to make an ultra simple, ultra flavorful, gremolata out of the components you see here before you. We’re going to start by rinsing, drying, and chopping a nice handful of parsley. You can see how I’m sort of folding the herbs onto themselves so they’re easier to chop. After running my knife through them a couple times, I’m going to place my hand on the top of the knife and just rock through it until I have relatively finely chopped parsley. We’re gonna place that in a small bowl, and start building what’s kind of like a pasta aglio e olio sauce, without the pasta. To separate the cloves of some fresh garlic, simply press down hard with the heel of your hand on the center of the head. This won’t work as well with not very fresh or refrigerated garlic, so do us all a favor and don’t refrigerate your garlic if possible. You can quickly peel garlic cloves by placing your knife flat on top of it and giving it a little pound with the heel of your hand. Be careful, don’t be stupid, don’t cut yourself. Now, you could finely mince your garlic, or if you happen to have one of these babies around, a garlic crusher is an easy way to make a quick paste out of a clove of garlic for applications like this, like sauces and dressings. Next up, using a microplane grater, something that has a wide variety of uses in the kitchen, we’re going to zest one whole lemon, making sure not to zest down to the white of the lemon, but just get the very outside layer of the yellow exterior. We’re then going to add the juice of the lemon, which you can see I’m doing through the loosened fingers of my hand; this is catching the seeds while letting the juice flow freely. Just like any core component of any given dish, this is going to be seasoned, in this case simply with salt and freshly-ground pepper. And to bring back a little richness and earthiness, we’re gonna throw in some extra virgin olive oil. Whisk thoroughly to combine. And after a solid 45 minute stint in the oven, our chicken has emerged crisp and brown. Cooking time are gonna vary but generally you wanna hit between 155˚ to 165˚ on the breasts, and 175˚ to 185˚ in the thighs and drumsticks. And as with almost any kind of meat, we’re letting it rest uncovered for at least 10 minutes. Do not cut into this thing as soon as it comes out of the oven or you will have a juice factory on your hands. Now, for an extra hungry dinner guest, or somebody who is super paleo, you can cut this guy in half and call it a day. But I like to separate it into sort of fried chicken sized components- That is to separate the thighs from the breast. There are no bones or sinew between these two pieces so removing them should be very easy. Generally you can remove the wings by just yanking them right off — this chicken gets very tender after a 24-hour dry-brine — and then separating the thighs and drumsticks by making a cut down between the two, until you hit the joint, pulling it apart, and pressing your knife between them. Then, so everybody at your table can get a good variety of meat, I like to cut the breasts in half, width-wise. Assemble these guys on a platter, and spoon your gremolata on top or serve on the side. I like to put it right on top because it adds for, sort of more pretty presentation. You might be worried about your skin’s crispness, but this skin is so crispy that a little bit of sauce on top is not going to hurt it that much. And there you have it, about $15 worth of ingredients, an hour or so of active cooking time and you’ve got a main course to feed at least four. Or if you’re like me and you live alone, single tear :'(, you can eat the thighs and drumsticks as is and save the breast for shredding for chicken salad or soup No matter how you eat it, this is an amazing way to take chicken in its least expensive form factor and turn it into something worthy of Sunday dinner. So I just want to talk a little bit about designing my new website with Squarespace. They have this really intuitive, easy to use platform, that made it super easy, even for somebody like me who has never done web design ever. They have templates, they do domains, they have really good customer service. It’s really an all-in-one, one-stop shop for building a really slick website, and I was really happy with the way mine came out. If you want to try it for yourself, you can start your free trial today at squarespace.com, and enter offer code BABISH to get 10% off your first purchase. Thanks for listening guys. I hope you like the new site, the new show, and I can’t wait to cook with you next week. This is the final Basics episode of 2017. So I’ll be seeing you guys next year, when we’re gonna take one more look at chicken, before delving into all-new topics, like: rice, eggs, bread, fish, fruit, and you know every other kind of food that there is. I hope you guys have a wonderful holiday, and I’ll see you in 2018 for the next livestream.