Bistro food is basic unpretentious food served in a casual setting. It’s the French answer to comfort food. Although the dishes are simple and the recipes are not complicated, high preparation standards and innovative approaches are maintained.
Thomas Keller wrote a cookbook, Bouchon, about bistro food. One of the recipes in his book is Simple Roast Chicken. It has few ingredients and is easily prepared. As it states in the directions, truss the bird, salt and pepper it, put it in a roasting pan, and bake it an hour in the oven. And that’s it. You are probably asking yourself, “How can this work?” The meat should be dry and tasteless, but it’s not. It’s very moist and delicious.
When it’s done, you can slather it with butter or you can dip your bites into something like an apricot mustard sauce (see at end of recipe) although it really doesn’t need it. According to Chef Keller, maybe you’ll start eating it with a knife and fork, but you’ll finish with your fingers because it’s so good.
Chicken Simple Bistro Roasted
1Chicken whole 2-3 lbs.
Kosher salt and pepperLiberal amount
Enter Target Time _______________
Time: __________ (2.5 hours prior to target time)
Remove the chicken from refrigerator and bring it to room temperature.
Time: __________ (100 minutes prior to target time)
Rinse chicken and dry with paper towels. Let sit 20 minutes so it is completely dry.
Salt and pepper the cavity and truss the bird. Place on a rack in an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan. Do not add water to bottom of pan.
Rain salt over all sides of bird. It is now ready for the oven.
Time: __________ (75 minutes prior to target time)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Adjust the racks so the bird will sit in the middle of the oven. Don’t baste it. Don’t do anything.
Roast it for about 50 to 60 minutes until it’s done (internal temp of 170 degrees).
Remove it from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Remove twine. Carve thighs and legs first. Clip wing ends. Using shears remove backbone and save oysters. With shears cut breast in two, leaving the wing attached to the breast.
Slather pieces with melted butter (optional).
It’s simply the best.
Below is a recipe for dipping sauce (optional):
Apricot Mustard Dipping Sauce
Can be prepared ahead of time.
1 Tablespoon EVOO
1 Tablespoon Mustard seeds
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons Honey
4½ Tablespoons White wine vinegar
1 cup White wine (if serving wine use the same varietal)
1/8 cup Dried apricots (or mangos) finely diced
Salt and pepper to taste.
- Warm oil in a 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
- Add mustard seeds. Toast until popping. Keep saucepan moving to keep seeds from burning.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Apricots should be tender. Season to taste.