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Recipe Box: Roasted Chicken

There is nothing more that I like than having a dinner party. An intimate dinner party. I prefer to entertain with a small group of friends. Whenever you have to cook for the masses, the quality of the food slips. But don’t get me wrong, I do love a big party. Every year for my birthday I invite everyone that I’ve ever known and everyone that I’ve ever liked and disliked. These parties usually get out of hand and end up with someone asleep in the driveway.

The first time I was moving to Paris in 2009, I had a huge bon voyage party. I had the party at my awesome friend Diandra’s house which was being rented by my other awesome friend, Susan. One big happy family up there at the villa. We have had zillions of dinner parties at this house and they have all been rather formal so I decided this time, this party, we were going to let our hair down a bit. I decided we were going to have a Mexican fiesta. First things first, I turned off all of the water in the house. There was no way anyone was drinking water, only tequila. I told every guest to bring a bottle of tequila. If you wanted any water you were going to have to drink out of the toilet, the pool or the koi pond.

I ordered Mexican food from crappy Baja Fresh. Lots of it. One of my favorite awesome friends is a self-proclaimed high maintenance New York Upper East Side/Hamptons on the weekends Jewish-American princess and when she saw the platters of sloppy burritos on the beautiful 18th-century Spanish dining room table, her mouth dropped open. I’m pretty sure I heard an “Oy vey.” She was horrified but guess what? Nine tequila shots later she was shoving taquitos down her throat at an alarming rate. No one is too good for a taquito! I also hired a karaoke/DJ for the night. This is the best move I’ve ever made.

 Everyone was a bit shy in the beginning with the DJ and karaoke machine because these are hoity-toity Santa Barbara “society people.” But after one of my awesome friends from LA, Rachel, started singing Madonna’s Like a Virgin and was rolling all over the sisal rug… The floodgates were open and all hell broke loose. I remember a bunch of girls, including myself, standing on the antique Chinese coffee table, with microphones singing with a real live Beach Boy (family friend) to California Girls at the top of our lungs. Things moved into the dining room at one point to the piano where my other awesome friend, Steve, played Elton John and everyone sang along with nearly tears in their eyes. Tequila will do that to you. The party lasted until sun up. The next morning we found people asleep everywhere. Like, fancy people. Fancy people sleeping in their cocktail dresses in the Japanese tea garden.

However, however, however I prefer a smaller party where I can retain some of my dignity. For these parties my favorite thing to cook is roasted chicken and vegetables. Add in a crusty baguette with salty French butter, a bottle or two of crisp white wine, and a homemade dessert and you’ve got yourself a dinner party!

 Now, don’t forget, I read cookbooks like they are romance novels and I watch cooking shows like they are porn. I know my way around a roasted chicken. Roasted chicken is a very particular little dish. Everyone has their own way, their own style and their own preferences. Do you baste the bird? Butter or olive oil? Do you brine the bird? What’s the best temperature? To truss or not to truss? What’s the best resting time? Blah blah blah. My advice? Experiment for yourself and see what works best for you but start with some good basics. For this, I would turn to Thomas Keller, Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten or Daniel Boulud. Here are their recipes…

Thomas Keller’s roasted chicken recipe HERE and his video demonstration HERE

Barefoot Contessa’s roasted chicken recipe HERE and her video demonstration HERE.

Daniel Boulud’s roasted chicken recipe HERE.
So after you’ve mastered the perfect roasted chicken you can take it up a notch and change things a bit. Check out these few interesting recipes…

Indian Roasted Chicken recipe HERE

Sticky Roasted Thai Chicken recipe HERE

Mustard-Roasted Chicken recipe HERE

Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Grapes recipe HERE
I am kind of a recipe collector so I have put together my favorite roasted chicken recipes on my Pinterest board. You can check it out HERE.

Stay tuned for the next installment of The Art of Entertaining. Hint: “bougie.”


  1. Good Day!I have NEVER met another soul who throws herself her own BIRTHDAY PARTY but ME!I did it for years just stopped two years ago basically with the big bashes...........we would cook all the food ourselves and I would set the tables with china, non- plastic utensils,and cloth husband would do the pasta and my SONS would serve!My parties did not get so WILD.......I unfortunately do not know the crowd who knows how to party!I can see your party now........just GORGEOUS!
    I adore MEXICAN food too and you cannot find in Northern Calif.Now on to the chicken!
    About a year ago I thought to myself I donot know HOW TO DO a good roast chicken.........I have done the BAREFOOT CONTESSA' her books.But I have landed on a BLOG you would you know MIMI of MANGER?She does a chicken with creme fraiche!The best chicken I have ever made!SHe is coming out with a cookbook end of October.She lives in FRANCE with loads of kids and dogs...........she is part Chinese and part French.Her husband is a photographer from ICELAND!Talk about BEAUTY check HER site out............the photos are smashing as is the food.She cooks from her memories of childhood!I guess HER parents were "FOODIES" way before the rest of us!I have already called DIBS on one of her SONS if they should tire of HIM!The children are GORGEOUS TOO!!!!!!!!
    I am so enjoying going back and reading your POSTS!Love your take on LIFE and THINGS!XX

  2. I really enjoy making roast chicken...unfortunately, I don't enjoy cleaning the oven afterwards... :(

  3. You're a sweetheart! Thank you for all of these great receipts. There is nothing much better than a good roast chicken.

  4. Our dinner last night was Roasted Chicken! I do love it, especially as the Autumn weather ushers in menu's and dinner parties indoors.

  5. Sometimes I ask myself silly questions like, "If you could only eat three foods what would they be?" and inevitably the answers are "avocado, chick peas and roasted chicken." That I play such games (another regular is "If I could go anywhere in the world right now where would it be?") is a sign that I probably have way too much time on my hands! Alas, my French honey does not consider it "fancy enough" to serve for a dinner party only picnics but we still regularly have "Sunday Night Chicken" just for us two.
    PS. Elizabeth is right...if you don't know of Manger...but you probably already do...heck, you might even know Mimi herself! ;)

  6. Bonjour Ellie, Texas girl here/ via Florida, "guality" mexican is fabulous out of Austin where I was, roasted chicken, I have used black cheeries and it is divine….can't beat a good one, so easy really, love juicy and melt like butter tender….loving having these recipes…I also follow Manger, Mimi and she has offered some goodies too ~ gosh it is funny, I too am constantly reading recipes and about nutrition, daily….LoL, you put it best, as if it were porn, HILARIOUS….always giggle throughout the day from reading here, esp., Mexican Crepes….oh my that is funny !