Food-tasting: Anthony Bourdain’s Poulet Roti

Ee (who is an excellent chef – btw) offered to cook us dinner on Friday night as he was interested to try out Anthony Bourdain’s Poulet Roti (French-styled Roast Chicken with Herb Butter) recipe.  Well, guinea pigs or not, we went all out to have a good time at his place.

I must add, the bird turned out pretty fine and the chef vowed to perfect the recipe in the next couple of tries.  B’s inspired, so I decided to share this recipe for he is going to replicate this sometime soon.  Can’t wait!

Recipe by Anthony Bourdain


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


Step 1: Prep the chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). 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 butter 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!

Step 2: 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 (110ml) 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 the oven a little, even rotating it, as many ovens have “hot spots” that might color or cook your bird unevenly.
  2. After 30 minutes, crank the oven temperature up to 450F (230C) and cook for another 25 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving. If you’re worried about undercooking, with the point of a small knife or with a skewer or a cake tester, you can poke the fat part of the thigh. If the liquid that runs out is clear – not pink or red – your bird is cooked.

Step 3: Finish (Optional)

  1. Place the roasting pan on the stovetop over high heat. Stir in the remaining wine and scape 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’s 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.
  2. Note: If you are unhappy or insecure about your sauce, yank a cube of frozen dark chicken stock out of the freezer and chuck that in with the wine. Using commercial broth or base, in this instance, would destroy all your good work to this point – a crime against food, God, and man.

[Recipe taken from Almost Bourdain]

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