Poulet Roti


Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 70 min.


  • 1 whole chicken, about 4 lbs/1.8 kg, giblets reserved
  • salt (sea salt)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary (do not get dried trash anywhere near my bird!)
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme (what did I just say?)
  • 2 tbsp/28 g herb butter
  • 3 tbsp/42 g butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups/340 ml white wine
  • a little chopped flat parsley

Prep the chicken:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Cut off the wing tips, leaving the last joint only. With fingers, remove excess fat from the chicken’s inside cavity. Trim off excess skin at the neck (and at the head, if you’ve bought a head-on bird in Chinatown; good for you, by the way, if you did). You removed the giblets packet, right? You’d better have, ’cause you’re gonna need them. Wash the inside of the chicken thoroughly with cold running water. Allow to dry. Season the inside cavity with salt and pepper.
  2. Okay…now, I’m not going to try and explain how to truss a chicken with twine—as much fun as that is. Here’s a shortcut instead. First: Lie on your back on the floor, put your knees together, and draw them both up to your chest with your arms. Press them against your chest. You should look pretty funny down there—but that’s exactly the position I want you to put your chicken in. Knees up, ass out.
  3. Undignified, but effective. Now, take a paring knife and just below the end of the chicken’s legs (approximately below where your heels would be), poke a small hole on each side, and tuck the leg carefully inside, pinioning the legs in a position approximately what you just did on the floor. Try not to tear the skin, okay? Now gently give the outside of your bird a good rubdown with salt and pepper. All over. Don’t miss any spots. Put the lemon half, half of the onion, the rosemary, and the thyme inside the chicken cavity.
  4. Carefully taking hold of the edge of the skin on each side of the chicken, lift the skin and gently push a tablespoon of herb butter underneath, prodding it along so that one lump of herb button sits on each side of the bird’s breastbone. Rub the outside of the chicken with about half of the plain (softened) butter. Gently! Don’t rip the freaking skin!

Cook the chicken:

  1. Remove the giblets from the bag and place them and the remaining half of the onion in the center of the roasting pan. Place the chicken on top of same. Pour 1/2 cup/110 ml of white wine into the pan and roast for 30 minutes, basting occasionally with the fat and butter that collects. When you baste, it’s a very good idea to move the roasting pan around in the oven a little, even rotating it, as many ovens have “hot spots” that might color or cook your bird unevenly.
  2. After 30 mins, crank the oven temperature up to 450 F/230 C and cook for another 25 mins. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 15 mins before carving. If you’re worried about undercooking, with the point of a small knife or with a skewer or cake tester, you can poke the fat part of the thigh. If the liquid that runs out in the clear—not pink or red—your bird is cooked.


  1. Place the roasting pan on the stovetop over high heat. Stir in the remaining wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with the wooden spoon to dislodge the fond (the brown bits). Bring the wine to a boil and cook until it is reduced by half. Discard the giblets and onion and whisk in the remaining softened butter. Stir in the parsley, season with salt and pepper, and serve alongside the chicken in a boat or gooseneck.

Serves: 2


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