Simple Roast Chicken

This is the easiest roast chicken recipe I've ever found, and it comes from Thomas Keller of the French Laundry. Even the most prestigious chefs love simple food the best. No matter how great fancy food prepared in inventive ways might be, it rarely beats a well done classic.

This chicken is definitely a "set it and forget it" kind of recipe. Remove bird from refrigerator. Let sit 3 hours or so to come up to room temperature. Season, truss, roast, rest, carve. That's it. The time required gives you ample time to prepare the rest of the meal, and everyone loves this extremely moist, flavorful chicken. The potatoes are optional, but they do prevent the chicken from smoking as much and they are essentially potatoes roasted in chicken fat. they're heavenly.

Simple Roast Chicken

  • 1 3-4 pound chicken
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh thyme
  • 2 lb red potatoes (optional)

  1. Let chicken come up to room temperature and pat dry inside and out with paper towels
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Line a roasting pan or cast iron skillet with sliced potatoes. Season lightly with pepper. This will prevent the oven from smoking so much, but also make some great potatoes soaked in the chicken drippings/fat
  4. Season inside of the chicken with a generous amount of salt, pepper and fresh thyme.
  5. Truss chicken, folding the wing tips under the body and tying the legs close to compact the weight of the bird
  6. Generously season the outside of the bird, raining down salt to create a slightly crust on the outside. Season with pepper and thyme
  7. Place bird over pan of potatoes. Roast in preheated oven for 1 hour or until meat thermometer registers 180
  8. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.