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Jan 30, 2010 04:00 PM

help! keller roast chicken for 10 tomorrow?

My housemates and I usually host 8-10 people every sunday for dinner. This week is my turn, and after a long week at work, I've scaled back my ambitions significantly, so no big indian feast.

What I would love to do is roast a chicken or two and have an old fashioned supper. I've only ever used the Thomas Keller recipe, and I love it; but can i do this for a crowd-- especially if i want to use organic chicken, which i've found tend to be smaller? There will be sides, of course, but this would be the main event, and it would have to feed anywhere from 7-10 people.

I'm thinking 2 five pound chickens, if I can find them. Would that be enough? and how will that change the suggested time, if at all?


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  1. I always think a quarter chicken per person...big bird or not. Leftovers are to your advantage.

    But I gotta say...why do you host so many each week? When do the others host you?

    1. If they are any smaller than 5 pounds, I'd suggest getting 3 of them. One super-easy rule of thumb for unstuffed chicken, with salt, pepper, and optional herbs/lemon/onion in the cavity: 4.5# bird, 45 minutes at 450 degrees.

      1. 4 people per bird is standard even with sides because some pieces are small (wing, drum) and if you're using organic & you know they are smaller, you'll need three birds for 10 people. (Might be less expensive to roast a small turkey)

        Keep in mind that when roasting, there will be less available chicken than if you were, say cutting up the bird & frying...with that, you'd have individual pieces. With roasting, more meat is left on the bones and not on someone's plate. I always stick with the same time no matter how may birds I'm cooking, which is 20 minutes per pound..but then, I don't use Keller's recipe.

        1. The Thomas Keller roasted chicken recipe lends itself to much smaller birds. I think with a 5lb chicken at that high of a temperature the outsides will be done and then insides would be undercooked. I suggest a lower, slower cook time.

          7 Replies
          1. re: AndrewK512

            What is the Thomas Keller way of roasting chicken??

            1. re: mendogurl

              Brined 2.5lb chicken, dried really well, brought to room temp, and roasted at 475 for around 40mins

              1. re: mendogurl

                Keller has another simpler method for roasting chicken without brining, from Bouchon, in which you rinse and dry very well inside and out a small chicken, season the cavity with salt and pepper, truss the bird then season it well with lots of coarse salt on all sides, plus pepper to taste. Roast in a 450-degree oven for about an hour to hour and a half. Remove from the oven and pan and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board. Add a couple tablespoons chopped fresh thyme to the pan drippings and baste once with the drippings while it rests.

                He further suggests that after carving it you slather the bird with soft unsalted butter and serve with mustard. I've never added the butter nor do I serve it with mustard, it's so wonderful without the additions. I love this recipe for the simplicity - just put it in the oven and forget about it.

                1. re: janniecooks

                  IMO, Keller has a lot of nerve if he's calling this "his" recipe. It's what most of the world has always done, with or without the trussing. Trussing seems to have fallen out of fashion, with good reason. Yes, a trussed bird looks nice, but it takes longer for the leg/thigh area to cook through, increasing the odds of a dried-out breast. And the skin doesn't brown all the way around on the leg or thigh. I just tuck the wings behind the back, which lessens the chance of their overcooking.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    it's "his" recipe because it's a recipe in his cookbook. he didn't claim to have discovered how to roast a chicken -- he was just explaining how he likes to cook it.

                    1. re: cornflower55

                      "it's "his" recipe because it's a recipe in his cookbook." It's the way of the world.

                      That said, turn a 5 lb brined or unbrined chicken, properly seasoned, on it's side, wing up, and roast at 450* for 25 minutes, then the other side for another 25 minutes, the breast up, until therometer reads 165* in the breast, for a more evenly roasted chicken done in a fairly hot oven. Obviously less time for a smaller bird, but the same turning technique works equally as well.

                    2. re: greygarious

                      Actually, he calls it "my favorite simple roast chicken". I don't have the notes from the recipe, if there were any, so it isn't clear if he calls it "his" recipe - those were my words to attribute the "recipe"/technique to the source in which I found it. My mother always cooked a simple roast chicken - no brining, marinades, spices, etc, but she cooked hers at a lower temperature and nearly to death, resulting in overcooked, dried out chicken. The method outlined by Keller as his favorite simple roast chicken offers a better result than that with which I grew up, so I offer it as Keller's as the Bouchon cookbook was where I found it.