After we sat down at the Chateau Marmont for a 2-part interview with Eric Ripert, we asked the Le Bernardin chef for a recipe from his new book, Avec Eric. Sure, they're all good, but which one should we go home and make now — and publish on the blog? “You can publish the entire book,” said Ripert, then thankfully suggested his recipe for roasted chicken.
Ripert said that the recipe, a simple one for roast chicken stuffed with bread and the Middle-eastern spice blend za'atar, is his grandmother's recipe. No, she's not secretly from Haifa or Ankara: the za'atar is “my little thing,” says the chef. (Ripert's grandmother is from Provence.) The chef told us that the most common mistake in cooking chicken is overcooking it, followed pretty closely by not seasoning it properly. The chef says he mostly just seasons chicken with salt and pepper. Simple, eh? Turn the page for the recipe.
Roasted chicken with za'atar stuffing
From: Avec Eric, by Eric Ripert with Angie Mosier and Soa Davies.
Note: As Ripert says in the book, “A good roast chicken is one of my favorite things to cook and eat. Every cook should know how to roast a chicken properly. The stuffing in this recipe contains a fantastic Middle Eastern spice blend called za'atar, which is a combination of sesame seeds and dried herbs such as basil, thyme and oregano.” Za'atar is available in Middle-Eastern shops, or you can just make your own: it's a very flexible recipe.
diced crusty bread
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic plus 1 head of garlic, cloves separated
2 teaspoons za'atar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Remove the wings and reserve.
2. Combine the bread, parsley, minced garlic, za'atar and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of the olive oil to
coat evenly. Season the stuffing with salt and pepper.
3. Season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper and fill with the stuffing. Tie the legs together with kitchen string.
Season the bird on the outside with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
4. Place the wings in a roasting pan and place the chicken on top of the wings. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and add the garlic cloves to the roasting pan. Continue roasting for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the
juices run clear when the leg is pierced. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.
5. Carve the chicken by removing the leg and thigh at the joint, then run the carving knife down one side of the breast bone and continue by following the rib cage, lifting the breast meat away from the bone. Repeat on the other side of the breast bone, removing the second breast. Slice the breast meat and leg meat.
6. Place 2 slices each of breast and leg meat on each plate and spoon some of the stuffing alongside. Spoon some of the pan drippings over the chicken and serve immediately.