Monday, January 11, 2010

Pesto Roast Chicken

I was "chicken" last night.

I've cooked outside several times in the past week despite temps in the 20s and teens. But yesterday when I looked out at my Big Green Egg, I just didn't have it in me. I "chickened" out.

I had already brined a chicken in a simple brine (salt, peppercorns, bay leaf) for a few hours. Since I wasn't going to be cooking with live fire and would be missing that je ne sais quoi that fire roasting brings, I wanted something with a little "wow" in the flavor department. This one from The Bon Appetit Cookbook seemed to fit the bill.

Pesto Roast Chicken
Source: The Bon Appetit Cookbook

1 whole chicken
7 ounces pesto sauce, divided
3 TB white wine
3/4 c plus 2 TB low-salt chicken broth
2 TB all purpose flour
3 TB heavy cream

Instructions As Retold by Chris
Instead of roasting the bird whole, I decided to spatchcock the chicken. Reserve 1 TB of the pesto sauce and rub the rest all over and UNDER the chicken skin.

Place a cast iron skillet in the oven and then preheat the oven to 450f. When the oven comes to temp, place the chicken in the skillet skin side up. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce temp to 375f and continue cooking until the chicken has an internal temp of 160f in the breast and 180f in the thigh. (About 1 hour.)

Remove chicken to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.

Pour the skillet juices into a glass measuring cup and skim any obvious fat off the top with a spoon. Put skillet on a burner at medium heat and deglaze the pan with the wine. I used more wine, about a quarter cup. Add wine juices to measuring cup. Top off with broth to make 1 cup.

Preheat a small heavy saucepan and add the cup of broth/wine/drippings mixture. Make a slurry by whisking the 2 TB broth and 2 TB of flour and then add to the sauce pan. Bring to a boil while whisking and let thicken (about 5 minutes). Add the cream and 1 TB of reserved pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make sure that you reserve the 1 TB of pesto BEFORE you start rubbing your chicken. You don't want to cross contaminate your gravy with e-coli.

The technique of rubbing a rub or paste under the chicken skin isn't a gimmick, it adds flavor to your roasted, baked, smoked, or grilled chicken. If you don't know how, watch THE VIDEO in this post at the 1:50 mark, they give a good demonstration. If you are just squeamish about handling chicken, try wearing latex or nitrile gloves.

A spatchcocked fryer fits perfectly in a large skillet.

I measure the wine very accurately, as you can tell;)


Plated with roasted carrots and a baked tater.

And we had one half breast leftover so tonight I diced it up and added it to a batch of garlic soup with bacon for some awesome leftovers.
Question: Does anyone know if handling food with latex gloves will cause problems for someone with latex allergies that eats your food or are latex allergies more of a skin contact issue?

And a quick game of "Versus": measuring cups/spoons vs. eyeballing/guestimating


  1. I am putting this on my "to make" list. I love chicken and pesto! Sounds like a winner

  2. God, that looks good. I love anything pesto and rubbed on roasted chicken-just divine.

    I don't balme you for finally "chickening out" and doing some cooking in the house. This weather is insane!!! We Floridians are slowly freezing to
    death (laugh).

  3. That looks fantastic! I love a chicken spatchcocked too.

  4. This looks amazing. I love pesto!!! I hope you tested that wine before you cooked with it...hahahaha. And as far as the latex thing...its a skin allergy thing (at least it is with the hubs).
    Versus...lets see....when baking (such things as orange sponge cake which really doesn't take long to make...just sayiing LOL) I measure. Cooking dinners and stuff...I eyeball it cuz I usually end up changing it anyway. You know... like add more garlic? :D

  5. Is that French for vulnerable bird there? :) It would be if I had a go at it, snap off a leg and eat it right up! That is a great recipe Chris!

  6. My son has a ton of food allergies so sometimes I hear things about other allergies. I think it depends on "how allergic" someone is to the latex. Apparently those allergic to latex have their doctor/hospital procedures first thing in the a.m. before the room, or air space, is contaminated with any latex. So, my guess is that it isn't just skin contact, but I could definitely be wrong.

    Sometimes I measure, but not when it comes to wine;D

    The pesto rubbed chicken sounds like a delicious alternative to grilling outdoors. I love that you had a wine sauce with the roasted chicken. Do you have a particular wine that you like to use when making sauces or do you just pick whatever is on hand at the store?

  7. So you do live indoors afterall! GREG

  8. can't help on the latex issue...

    as to the measurement... I am exact with bread, and with rubs (for consistancy). Otherwise, a while back I took all the main measurements (TBS, TSp, 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup and cup... poured them in my palm to get an idea.

    so, when i am "just" seasoning, I pour in my palm and I know when I get about the right amount before dumping in the mix.

    And great chicken

  9. This is nothing but food porn. You should be ashamed stimulating my appetite that way.

  10. I never would have made it trying to cook outside in the teens...I would have chickened out waaay before you did!

  11. PESTO! Yum, and oh there's CHICKEN too! And omg, TOGETHER! Perfect!

    I'm not as sold on measuring spoons as I am on using cups, although I am getting really really good as eyeballing cup measurements now. I had a friend give me grief about estimating measurements, telling me there was no way I could ever be accurate. He pulled out the utensils and tested me. I was accurate, or ever so close, about 90% of the time. Perfectionism helps a little, I guess.

  12. Steph: Is your "to make" list as ridiculously long as mine? ha ha

    Velva: It's been 10 years since I moved from Florida and I think I'm finally adjusting to it;)

    Mary: It's my favorite way to roast one.

    Danielle: Yeah, baking is a different animal, but outside of baking, I wing it too.

    Chef E: Actually I know this one;) No, it's not French, theory is that it is Irish, originating in the 18th century. It was a phrase to "dispatch" the chicken or something like that.

    Kim: I used Berringer chardonnay. I don't actually drink wine much, so I just get the guy at the package store to help me out. I need to get Greg, Chef E and Pam's phone numbers on speed dial ;)

    Greg: See? I TOLD you I have an oven;)

    Dave: You and I are the same. I measure when making rubs. I do the palm trick too, for anything up to 1/4 cup.

    Mrs. L: You know I'm shameless!

    Kelly: I was going to go through with the plan to cook outside, but I didn't want to disturb the penguins that were nesting on my deck;)

    Kate: Funny! I've tested myself too and usually I'm close enough that it makes no difference.

  13. I love pesto, but never have tried it on chicken..looks good!

  14. I think some people are highly allergic to latex and it might bother them...but I'd be willing to bet most would not react to the trace amounts of latex left on the chicken. It's mostly a contact issue.

    For baking I measure, but in regular cooking I guesstimate.

  15. Looks like one fine chicken. And, I'd have chickened out 2 months ago, IDK how you lasted that long outside! That is egg love.

  16. I really need to try cooking my chicken spatchcocked - it makes for evenly cooked meat I assume. Pesto and chicken is a match made in heaven, it looks really excellent Chris.

    I also need to try your garlic soup, I know I would love it.

  17. As the saying goes "I love to cook with wine and sometimes I even put it in the food"

    Chris, I've been chicken since Mid October when we got our first 30 inch snow storm. We still have snow on the ground.

    I don't know about the latex thing.

    And omg this looks so delicious.

  18. Your photos have TOTAL WOW FACTOR!!! Look at what you did, you made me use caps! lol

    Chris this is amazing and definitely going in my to cook pile!

  19. BD: Me either but what I was really skeptical of was putting 1 TB of pesto into the gravy, but it was terrific.

    Beth: Thanks

    Kimmie: It's hard not to love that green lump of ceramics;)

    Lee Ann: Wow, 30 inches, I don't know if I'd cook in that much snow either.

    Katherine: Awww shucks;) I love that you refer to your "to cook" not as a list or a queue, but a "pile". That's more appropriate for most of us, in reality. It quit being a list months ago!

  20. This looks so good Chris! I love pesto, this is definitely going on my list to try. I don't blame you for not wanting to go out in the cold. My grill has been the good old Foreman lately - Hey, stop laughing! It's been freezing here in Florida this week!

  21. Great looking chicken Chris. I just read the title to Bev and she advised to put it on the to make list - we still have pesto in the freezer from last summers basil crop.

  22. I haven't spatchcocked in months. Time to get busy.

  23. I must try spatchcooking a chicken I havent yet. It looks superb!

  24. Nice bird there Chris, I fried my chicken chicken, yours looks tasty too. I tend to use nitrile or vinyl, avoid the latex as I think the risk is there. Also, that powder gets everywhere and it tastes bad anyway.

  25. With the temps that low do you protect yor Egg? Some covering or shelter? Don't they crack?

    When or you getting your grill"

  26. Martha: We had a Foreman grill for the first 6 months that we lived in TN because the apartment we lived in while we looked for a house did not allow grills. Worst 6 months of my life, lol.

    Big Dude: I think you'll like it. It would be better grilled, but it worked inside.

    Pam: It's my favorite way of roasting or baking a bird.

    Donna: You just like saying that;)

    Bob: I'm using nitrile right now, just because I feel like I get a better tactile feel with them. I was just curious about the latex thing.

    Chilebrown: Nothing. The ceramics can handle pretty extreme temperature ranges. Not sure when I'm getting my custom grill grate from Huntingdon County Customs. I ordered it in November, spoke to them the week before Christmas and they had done the design.

  27. I'm thinking I should use pesto more often. This looks lovely. Great photos too. You're right....too darn cold to cook outside lately.

  28. I like to make my own pesto but I have some premade in the fridge from a recent trip to Trader Joe's. We also have chicken wings so I'm thinking of doing a wing version of this recipe?? If not now...soon. The picts of the chicken are awesome and the one where it's in the background with the pesto up front made me laugh b/c he looks SO vulnerable! Beautiful work as always Chris!

  29. Beautiful dish! I learn something everytime I read your posts, Chris. I had to Google spatchcocking a chicken - what a terrific way to prepare a bird! Love the pesto rub and yes, I do put seasonings under the skin so the meat is well seasoned.
    I measure ingredients for a new recipe, but cook by the seat of my pants a lot of the time. Taste is such an individual thing, am I right??
    P.S. -the garlic soup looks delicious as well. Have you posted the recipe?

  30. Wait, you are getting a custom HCC grill? Then you won't be wanting that cast iron one anymore, feel free to dump it on me.

  31. Finally! One of your recipes that I feel like I might be able to pull off. LOL

    This one looks absolutely delish!


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