Million Dollar Chicken
Since we don’t have cable TV, whenever I go out of town it’s a given that I’m going to watch hours and hours of Food Network in my hotel room if I can sneak it in. It’s the one channel I miss oh so much.
I recently watched an episode of Barefoot Contessa where a chef from Standard Grill showed Ina how to make one of their signature dishes, Million Dollar Chicken.
The chicken is brushed with a luxurious and rich creme fraiche, but what’s even better is this idea right here:
You set the whole chicken on top of a thick slice of bread instead of in a roasting pan.
The result is a golden brown, crusty piece of bread that has spent an hour in the oven soaking up all the chicken juices and flavor. It is truly spectacular.
My advice to you: make it a big honkin’ piece of bread. Because if you’re eating this dish with others, you’ll be fighting over the bread.
I started by stuffing the chicken cavity with a few aromatics, namely rosemary, garlic, a bay leaf, and lemon:
Then I trussed the chicken and set it on top of the bread:
And side note: you should always truss your chicken. I did a side-by-side test in my Should You Truss a Chicken or Not? article and trussing is definitely the way to go.
Let the chicken roast away like any other roast chicken recipe, but at the end, pull out a tub of this stuff…creme fraiche:
If you’re not familiar with creme fraiche, it’s like a cross between sour cream and mascarpone, both in flavor and in texture. I totally understand why chefs are obsessed with it, because it’s creamy, luxurious, silky, tangy, and flavorful.
Brush it all over the chicken during the very end of the cooking process:
Then you’re ready to let the chicken rest, and carve it. Look at that crusty piece of bread peeking out!
Even if you don’t brush your chicken with creme fraiche, at the very least stick a piece of bread under your chicken the next time you make a roast chicken. It’s glorious. Enjoy!
Million Dollar Chicken Recipe
- 4 lb whole chicken, patted very dry with a paper towel
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
- 3 slices fresh lemon
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- salt and pepper
- 1 inch thick piece of day-old bread
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- 1 tsp paprika (optional, for extra color and flavor)
- Take the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before roasting, then preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
- Season the inside (cavity) of the chicken generously with salt and pepper, then stuff the cavity with the garlic, lemon, bay leaf, and rosemary. Truss the chicken with kitchen twine, then season the outside all over with plenty of salt and pepper.
- Place the piece of bread in a small pan (I used an ovenproof frying pan) and set the trussed chicken on top of the bread.
- Roast the chicken at 475 for 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400, and continue cooking for approximately 40-50 more minutes (this time varies slightly depending on bird size). When the chicken is almost done, reading at about 150 degrees F, that means it’s time to brush the chicken all over with creme fraiche (if you’re adding the paprika, mix it into the creme fraiche). Continue roasting the chicken until it reads 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the chicken, which is between the breast and the thigh/leg.
- Let the chicken rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes for the juices to redistribute, then serve!