Saturday, November 26, 2011

Roasted Split Chicken with Compound Butter and Vegetables

Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have of this recipe. The chicken went so fast I couldn't even snap a picture of it!
Yes, the name for this dish sounds a bit daunting but this roasted chicken recipe is just as easy any other. To make this recipe special, we brine the chicken and make a make a compound butter from garlic and fresh thyme. Compound butter sounds fancy, but really all we do is process softened butter and flavorings together to make a fatty paste that you apply to the chicken before you put it in the oven.

To make the meal more substantial we will also add vegetables on the bottom of the pan in which the chicken roasts. I recommend serving this version of roast chicken when you have four or more people to feed instead of my earlier roasted chicken post which will only serve three to four. Because were cooking for more people, we also need more meat. This recipe will use a 6 1/2 to 8 pound chicken which requires us to split the chicken in half so it can roast properly. Hence, split chicken.

As far as what to use for roasting vegetables, start with baby potatoes, halved carrots and quartered onions. From there you can add leeks, turnips, rutabaga, celery, celery root, fennel, beets, sweet potatoes et cetera.

As always, tempering is not necessary here. You can send it right to the oven if you want. Still, I recommend letting it sit out just a little bit while you make the butter. Even a little tempering can go a long way.

Split Chicken Roasted with Compound Butter and Vegetables:
1 whole chicken, 6 1/2 to 8 pounds
Brine (enough to fully cover the chicken in your container)

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
6 garlic cloves, crushed or finely minced
3-4 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, removed from springs
Fresh pepper
Kosher Salt

4 to 5 pounds assorted roasting vegetables cut into similarly sized chunks
Vegetable/canola oil

1. Remove bag from chicken and rinse off. Place in brine and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
2. When chicken is done bringing, pat dry with paper towels and either air dry in the fridge for a few hours up to a day, or begin to split the chicken.
3. Split the chickens.
4. Let the chicken halves temper for up to 2 1/2 hours. When done tempering, preheat the oven to 475F.
5. To make the compound butter, add the butter, thyme and garlic to a food processor and pulse until mixed. (You could also melt the butter, add everything, and then let it cool to room temp.)
6. With a basting brush, apply softened compound butter all over the inside and outside of the chicken. Salt and pepper the inside and outside to taste.
7. Place vegetables in the roasting pan and lightly oil, toss to coat.
8. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan with the outside facing up. Be sure that the chicken halves don't touch.
9. Roast chicken and vegetables for 30 minutes at 475F.
10. Lower temperature to 400 and cook until a thermometer reads 165F in the thickest part of the thigh and the juices run clear.
11. Remove the chicken from the pan and toss the vegetables in the drippings left behind. Return pan to oven while you wait to carve the meat.
12. Let the chicken halves rest for 15-30 minutes before carving.
13. Remove the breast from the thigh and the drumstick from the thigh. Remove the wing from the breast and repeat for the other half. Take the vegetables out of the oven and serve on a platter with the roasted chicken.

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