How to Roast a Chicken Three Ways
Chicken can seem like a boring choice of protein to some, but we prefer to see it as a blank culinary canvas to let your seasonings and preparation technique take center stage. Delicate in flavor and able to easily meld with the unique tastes of of what you cook it with, let these buttermilk brine, spice and butter rubs (and wine pairings to go with each) make sure there’s no such thing as a “boring chicken night” in your house again.
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It may be the ultimate comfort food, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Fill your home with that familiar warm, welcoming smell, while offering something unexpected with this rub, marinade or comound butter. Make it a one-pan meal by adding root vegetables to the roasting pan: Try beets with the buttermilk marinade, turnips with the mushroom rub and sweet potatoes with the Tabasco-honey butter.
- 1 (4-pound) whole chicken, giblets removed, rinsed and patted dry
Heat oven to 400°F.
Truss chicken legs with butcher’s twine and tuck wings. Place chicken, breast-side up, on roasting rack set inside roasting pan or cast-iron skillet. Roast, basting occasionally and tenting with foil if skin darkens too quickly, until legs feel loose and juices run clear. Cook until meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh (away from bone) registers 165°F, about 1½ hours. Let rest 15 minutes. Carve and serve, topping with any pan juices. Serves 4.
Courtesy Liz Pearson
This is a slight twist on the classic technique of using buttermilk in your chicken marinade to more effectively tenderize the meat and retain moisture. Here we utilize a unique and versatile Mediterranean seed and spice blend called za’atar to deepen the natural flavors.
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons za’atar (Mediterranean herb and sesame seed mix, available at specialty markets)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
In medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Turn chicken in marinade to coat well. Cover and refrigerate from 8 hours to overnight, turning chicken once or twice.
Shake off excess marinade from chicken and discard marinade. Roast chicken according to instructions.
Ben Kaufman is the general manager at Barano in Brooklyn, New York. He created the beverage program for the Italian pizza, pasta and wood-fired rotisserie restaurant, so this Mediterranean-flavored bird sings to him. He recommends Caravaglio’s 2015 Malvasia Bianco Secca (Salina). “It has wonderful floral aromatics and peach notes, as well as a beautiful salinity, due to the large salt—farming industry on the island. The salinity will play nicely with the buttermilk…and the island herbs on the palate of the wine will enhance the Mediterranean flare of the za’atar.”
Courtesy Liz Pearson
Have a bag of dried mushrooms taking up space in the back of your pantry? Then you’ve got the key to elevating a basic roast chicken with this dry rub recipe, where pimentón and sage meet mushrooms and a touch of brown sugar for a simple spice seasoning that will give you a taste of down-South barbecue in your home kitchen.
- ½ ounce dried mushrooms
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
- 1½ teaspoons pimentón (smoked paprika)
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
In spice or coffee grinder, grind dried mushrooms to powder. In small bowl, combine powder with all other ingredients and mix evenly. Sprinkle over chicken to thickly coat, rubbing some inside cavity, too. Roast chicken according to instructions.
“Chicken is a delicate white meat, which can go well with both white and lighter reds,” says Rachael Lowe, sommelier and beverage director at Spiaggia in Chicago. But the meaty mushroom and smoky paprika flavors in this one push it firmly toward red, specifically Damien Coquelet’s 2013 Cuvée Vieilles Vignes (Chiroubles). “Aromas of red bing cherry and macerated raspberries bring a brightness to the dish, while notes of smoked meats, pepper and leather in the wine blend harmoniously with the earthiness of the mushrooms,” says Lowe.
Courtesy Liz Pearson
The perfect marriage of honey mustard and Buffalo sauce, this roasted chicken seasoning combines the tang of Tabasco with the sweetness of honey and the creaminess of butter. Think this bold combination of flavors is impossible to pair with? Well, then Anthony Merlone, wine director at Le Farfalle in Charleston, South Carolina, has a Nebbiolo he thinks you need to try.
- ¼ cup softened unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco (or similar hot sauce)
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
In small bowl, use fork to mash together butter, honey, Tabasco and salt. Spread evenly on chicken, both over and under skin. Roast chicken according to instructions.
The key to pairing this dish is to find a wine that stands up to the spicy flavor without drowning out the honey. Anthony Merlone, wine director at Le Farfalle in Charleston, South Carolina, says Mamete Prevostini’s 2014 Botonero Nebbiolo (Terrazze Retiche di Sondrio) from Lombardy is just the thing. “The Valtellina grapes grow at a higher altitude during a shorter growing season with cooler days and nights, which tends to make a lighter wine,” he says. It has Nebbiolo’s charactistic floral, spicy perfume, “along with lovely cherry fruit, which is a perfect match for the chicken.”
- 1Roasted Chicken
- 2Buttermilk Marinade with Za’atar
- 3Smoky Dried Mushroom Spice Rub
- 4Tabasco-Honey Butter