If there is one thing I've learned from watching Barefoot Contessa, it's that Jeffrey (Mr. Garten) loves a good roasted chicken. That and butter makes everything better. But this post isn't about butter.
Ina recently went on a jaunt to The Standard Grill in New York to help the head chef make their famous "Million Dollar Chicken". This episode made quite an impression on me. Not because of the delicious glaze that the restaurant has concocted for the chicken, but because they roast it on top of slices of bread. On...bread! Genius.
The bread then turns into something that can only be described as magical. You know that fat that you typically use to baste your chicken throughout roasting? Well it's in the bread. You know how the bottom of a roast pan caramelizes anything that touches it? Well your bread becomes golden and crispy.
The first roasted chicken recipe to change my life was Zuni Cafe's. In addition to their tasty chicken, I became obsessed with their bread salad. May as well be the main in my book.
A light bulb recently went off after watching Ina at The Standard Grill for the second time. Why not combine the Million Dollar Chicken and Zuni Cafe bread salad? And by combine I mean used the golden and crispy roasted bread from beneath the Million Dollar Chicken as my croutons.
Proceed with caution. You may eat it all yourself.
Adapted from the Standard Grill's Million Dollar Chicken:
The Greek Yogurt Glaze
- 1 cup 2% greek yogurt
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tablespoon shallots, grated on a fine zester
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Assemble the glaze by combining all of the ingredients and whisking them together.
Few notes -
* The original recipe calls for creme fraiche which I didn't have on hand, so I substituted it for Greek yogurt. You could also use sour cream here if you'd like.
* The original calls for Aleppo pepper, not paprika. This is again due to poor planning. But sweet paprika works great! Cook's Thesaurus says that paprika combined with a pinch of cayenne is a great sub for Aleppo pepper.
- 3 1/2 pound whole chicken, preferably organic
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
- 1 lemon
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- Olive oil
- 2 slices Pain au Levain, cut 3/4-inch thick (or whatever loaf you want!)
- Maldon salt
Take the chicken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you plan to roast it. Preheat the oven to 425 to 450 degrees. I chose to go with 450 degrees.
Season the chicken well inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the garlic, lemon, bay leaf and thyme.
I don't bother with trussing the bird with butcher twine - do whatever you'd like!
In a pan large enough to accommodate the chicken - I use a 12 inch fry pan - oil the pan lightly with olive oil, place the slices of Pain au Levain in the center of the pan. Place the chicken on top of the bread.
Drizzle the bird with olive oil.
Place the pan in the oven and roast for a total of 40 to 50 minutes (according to the recipe). I roasted my chicken for closer to 60 minutes. You should baste it every 12 to 15 minutes with the fat and drippings that render from the bird - the bread caught most of mine so there wasn't much to work with.
After 35 minutes passes, add the first layer of glaze with the pastry brush. Put back into the oven and roast for another 10 minutes - it should begin to caramelize. At 45 minutes, remove the roasted chicken from the oven and add the second and final layer of glaze.
At this point the chicken should be cooked through and nicely golden brown. Oven temperatures vary so make sure to use your thermometer and check that the internal temperature is reading 165 degrees. Slide the thermometer into the hip meat, in between the leg and breast; make sure the thermometer does not touch the bone, as this will give an artificially high reading.
The Pain au Levain underneath the chicken will be nicely browned and crisped on the side in contact with the pan, and moist and juicy on the side in contact with the chicken. I like to remove the chicken from the pan, letting it rest on the cutting board, and place the pan with the bread back into the oven to crisp up the top side. Not required of course.
Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes, cut and serve!
Zuni Cafe Bread Salad - Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 2 slices of roasted Pain au Levain from Million Dollar Chicken
- 6 to 8 tablespoons mild-tasting olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoon raisins plumped in 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon warm water for ten minutes or so
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, slivered
- 1/4 cup slivered scallions (about 4 scallions), including a little of the green part
- 3 cups of arugula
Combine about 1/4 cup of the olive oil with the red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a spoonful of the olive oil in a small skillet, add the garlic and scallions, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until softened. Don’t let them color.
Cut the Million Dollar Chicken bread into squares for croutons.
Add the garlic and scallions to bowl with arugula. Drain the plumped currants and fold them in, along with the pine nuts. Add croutons and dressing and mix. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve the Million Dollar Chicken on top of the Zuni Cafe bread salad. Squeeze a little lemon on top and enjoy!