Monday, July 29, 2013

Million Dollar Chicken – Of Course It Tastes Rich!

This take on the Standard Grill’s famous “Million Dollar Chicken,” showed me once again that so many of life’s great culinary pleasures happen when you least expect them. I saw this recipe featured on TV recently, and chose to try it for two main reasons: one, it’s slathered in crème fraiche; and two, it’s roasted over caramelized, chicken drippings-soaked bread.

I know, we had you at “slathered in crème fraiche,” but it was the bread that I was really looking forward to when I pulled this out of the oven, which is why I was so bummed when I thought I'd ruined it. Since I got greedy and used an extra slice of bread, and also used a larger roasting pan, the bread cooked to what would generously be referred to as “golden-black.”

Several times during the glazing at the end, I contemplated tossing them out and simply making a joke about it during the narration, but I’m SO glad I didn’t. I can’t explain why, but not only didn’t it taste like burnt toast, it truly tasted fantastic. For purely aesthetic reasons, I’ll encourage you to use a smaller roasting pan, which will better insulate the edges of the bread, but I wasn’t exaggerating when I described just how great it really was. I promised to stop using the word “unctuous,” but it actually seems appropriate here.

It was so saturated with chicken fat, caramelized juices, and crème fraiche, that the bitterness from the darkest parts of the bread seemed to balance the richness somehow. The point is, if mine was good this dark, one shade lighter should get you even closer to million dollar chicken nirvana. I hope you give this “rich” combo a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
4 1/2 pound whole chicken
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic (original recipe calls for adding a few cloves of garlic in the cavity with the herbs and lemon - I didn't, since I had included garlic in the last twelve things I'd eaten, and was taking a break, but feel free to add!)
olive oil, as needed
3 thick slices day-old French bread (I used sourdough)

For creme fraiche glaze:
1 zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon grated shallot puree
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper

- Cook at 450 degrees F. for one hour, then glaze, cook for 10 minutes, and repeat until chicken is done. (Note: If you use a different size chicken, you’ll obviously need to adjust your times. Cook until internal temp in thickest part of thigh is 165 degrees F.)
- The original recipe from the Standard Grill in NYC calls for finishing with Maldon sea salt. I didn't, but that always a nice option.

View the complete recipe

39 comments:

PreludeInZ said...

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/chicken-recipes/chicken-in-milk

If you liked this, Chef John, have you ever made Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk? It's similarly awesome looking, and the garlic/chicken/butter/slightly curdled milk sauce is awesome with bread or rice or potatoes. I've also thrown in a cinnamon stick, which adds a lot of tastiness as well.

Beth said...

Looks seriously phenomenal. Do you put your chicken in at room temp or cool/cold from the fridge?

Pingya said...

Chef John said...

The chicken is usually out of the fridge for 10-15 minutes before I cook it.

Chef John said...

Never had, but love most of Jamie's stuff!

Stubor said...

Hey, boss!

I'm a little short on shallots around here, but I have garlic out my ears; any thoughts?

Also, since you turned me on to cream fraiche, instead of the bread (heresy, I know), how about making a gravy?

Thanks again.

Roberto said...

Here in Italy, neither creme fraiche nor buttermilk is available, at least not near where I live. But we do have both Greek and regular yoghourt. Would you recommend I use one of those as a substitute or perhaps half Greek yoghourt and half cream?

How about recovering all that beautiful fond by making the finishing sauce in the roasting pan?

Jeremy Hale said...

Is it possible to rotate out the bread with different slices partway through, or would the slices not get enough of a basting to be flavorful enough? I only ask because when I make a chicken I usually feed 5 people, and it'd be nice if I could get a slice of bread for each person. The chickens I use are also usually closer to 6 lbs.

Jason Smith said...

Chef;

Just curious herb question: Do you let all your herbs blossom, or do you try to pick off some or most of the blossoms?

Thanks!

tilen21 said...

Just a question/reminder. Since you throw the whole lemon inside in most of your chicken recipies i was wondering do you use bio lemons? Because all the conventional citrus fruits are sprayed with huge quantaties of pesticides and chemicals which stick on the skin and then go into the chicken while cooking. If you haven't used them so far, try it out, might not be a bad idea, i gotta look out for your health and the health of your followers :)

Peter T said...

Would using an herbed butter underneath the skin a la your previous roast chicken recipe work here? Or is that overkill with all the creme fraische?

Chef John said...

You could try butter under skin here, but only you can judge whether it's overkill or not. Let us know!

Chef John said...

The lemon came from my back yard. ;)

Chef John said...

Yogurt could work here, but I haven't tried. You could certain make a pan sauce, but the bread had so much pan drippings in it, and I had the creme fraiche, that I didn't bother.

Cro Carol said...

Chef John, this looks fantastic but I too have the crème fraiche situation in Croatia. Would sour cream be a better alternative than yoghurt?

Kelsey said...

You always make even the scariest sounding recipes look so easy, and all of my fear of cooking just disappears when I hear that voice saying how easy it is! Thank you Chef John!

Arni Bergsson said...

Have to say I love this recipe, I would love it if you would be so nice guest post one chicken recipe on my site?

http://chickenprepare.com/
It's only about chicken :)

With thanks Arni.

nike thromas said...

Hey Chef John, how can i make this a little more spicier for my indian parents?

truthspew said...

One trick - if you're roasting a bird i line the bed with carrots, potatoes, onions and a little celery.

They absorb the chicken or turkey fat and taste fantastic.

Ayx said...

Just made this with some rice and salad.. The chicken was nicely fragranced with the thyme and garlic (I added 2 cloves of garlic).. But I found it to be too lemony.. With the lemon juice within the chicken and in the creme fraiche glaze.. Would you recommend the same recipe without so much lemon?

Ayx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy Hale said...

^ Cooking is all about adapting to your preferences. If you want less lemon, use less lemon. As Chef John would say, you are the boss of your sauce (wait, does he say that? Sounds like something he'd say..).

Chef John said...

Yes, I'd say less lemon is the way to go. ;)

Chef John said...

Nike, is this a trick question? ;) More cayenne!

Dontt Spam said...

Chef, I was expecting a Rich Gang – Tapout reference from you! I'd be disappointed, but this recipe is too good...

Kurt said...

Chef John........I bought everything this afternoon, am going to make this tomorrow evening. My question is, in the original recipe they salt and pepper and put the lemon, Thyme and Bay leaf in the cavity the night before. Why doesn't all that salt dry out the bird while it sits in the refer? Or does it act like a brine and make it juicier? I know your recipe does not have to sit in the refer over night, but i would like to try it since I have the time.

Chef John said...

Kurt,

If you have time try it! It's more like a dry rub than a brine. I've done similar, but didn't bother this time.

loner said...

One question : What can I substitute Aleppp pepper with :( Cuz its no way available here in Asia

Kurt said...

That was certainly one of the best chicken recipes that I have ever had. I will be making this again and again. I reduced the leftover Creme Fraiche sauce and spooned it over the chicken pieces..........really good!

Lisa from Indiana said...

Made this for Sunday supper today. It's the kind of thing that lends itself to preparation ahead of time, and then just put it in the oven for an hour or so. Amazing flavors and aromas. And a beautiful presentation.

If you make it in a properly sized pan you can get quite a few slices under the bird. I used a standard loaf of french bread and 6 slices fit without 'peaking out'. When my family asked what they were I called them croutons - and they were a huge hit.

Bill Berry said...

Chef J,

Made this chicky for Canadian Thanksgiving and it was a hit! I had to modify the recipe because I didn't have time to make creame fraiche and for some reason it isn't sold in Vancouver. So, I used Devonshire Cream instead it turned out great. The mixture, however, was quite thick so I thinned it out with a bit of regular cream until is resembled the mixture in the video. When I applied it to the hot chicken it behaved the same way, reverting to a liquid form. Also, I loaded up the bread pieces with some of the mixture too.

cfrnkwolfe said...

Chef,

Would you show us someday how to properly cut up a chicken? Your presentation looks great but I can never figure out how to cut it up like you do.

Bryan Mabe said...

Chef John,

To make in a more similar way to Standard Grill, what could you cook chicken in other then roast pan? Loaf pan? I want to try to minimize chances of getting a burnt look to the bread.

Thanks!

Love your blog!!!

Bryan Mabe said...

Chef John,

To make in a more similar way to Standard Grill, what could you cook chicken in other then roast pan? Loaf pan? I want to try to minimize chances of getting a burnt look to the bread.

Thanks!

Love your blog!!!

Chef John said...

I don't think you want the chicken in a loaf pan. Don't worry about the bread, it's awesome.

Madeleine LD said...

Hi all -
I tried it out tonight with plain, non-fat Greek yogurt instead of creme fraiche. I pureed the yogurt with onion, lemon, etc in a food processor. It was delicious, BUT didn't carmelize in the way Chef John's did--it still looked very yogurty on the outside. Wasn't pretty but still tasted lovely. This also could have been something else I messed up rather than a result of the yogurt.

meir said...

First let me say I love all if your videos! Anyways, I made this using Cornish hens (Spatchcocked, seasoned, injected brine 6% into thighs and breast, sealed, and sous vide at 155F x 5 hours)
Then broiled for 20 mins or so while applying the creme fraiche sauce ever few mins... This came out phenomenal!!! Meat just fell off the bone, skin crispy and tasty, just delicious. (I didn't use the bread, I figured it prob wouldnt be great after only 20 mins in the over)
Next time I'll use your original instructions but I figured I'd post this for anyone wanting a sous vide version

MeiSean said...

what can I use to sub for the Aleppo pepper?


P.S. BIGG BIGGGG BIGGGGGG fan of you & your recipes Chef John :-)

Chef John said...

Any red pepper flakes will work, or any hot pepper!