Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ludo Lefebvre's "Recipe by Photo" Roast Chicken (2/24)

Ludo Lefebvre is already a legend for his inspirational modern cooking and for inventing the pop-up restaurant. I've had the opportunity to eat at LudoBites 5.0 and 6.0, and both were great, overall experiences. I still have dreams about his Poached Egg/Potato Mousseline/Chorizo Condiment and his Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta with Caramel and Caviar.

Needless to say, I'm a fan, and lucky for me, Chef Ludo recently posted a series of 115 photos to share his recipe for Roast Chicken and Potatoes. Deciding to do his recipe for my second of twenty-four roast chickens was a no-brainer. The only thing that worried me though was the inevitability of using a healthy mountain of butter. It's no Paula Deen, but it's still a mountain.

Stuffing the chicken with a heavy hand of rosemary was the easy part.

The rest required some fun firsts. First, I've never cut out a wish bone from a raw chicken. Yes, for some reason there was a jar of kimchi hanging out in the background.

Second, I've never trussed a chicken. Chef Ludo's pictures made it particularly easy to figure it out though.

Third, I've never feared pimples growing on my hands. I found myself questioning whether I had enough butter, or if I had already put on too much butter. Either way, I could barely check the recipe because my hands were already heavily lipid. But, as Ludo and many French chefs say, you can never have enough butter. So I just went for it.

I always get nervous once I throw the chicken into the oven. It's like sending your kid off to school. Will she get there safely? Will she get teased by the other chickens? Will she come back a different person? In this case, she came back tanned, crispy, and full of character. She even came back with some crispy onion buddies (the recipe calls for potatoes, but I've found halved onions to be a great, starchless substitute).

When I looked at the skin, I was glad I erred on the side of more butter than not. I kind of wished I had added even more butter! The skin was beautiful. I almost didn't want to break the skin because it looked so good. But every great-looking food must be eaten sooner or later. And the person who eats it might as well be me.

The meat was incredibly juicy, even the breasts. The crispy skin was on the verge of tasting like fried chicken, and each bite exploded with bursts of lemon citrus. There was also a strong, smoky garlic taste that must have come from the coarsely quarter-sectioned chunks of unpeeled garlic. The rosemary was more than noticeable and I took the liberty to sprinkle some broken off crispy bits of rosemary onto the chicken.

The onions were slightly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, with plenty of citrus tang. My only regret was not having a proper roasting rack for this chicken. I feel like the butter drippings would have added some extra crunch to the onions. I'm thinking about sprinkling some grated cheese on the onions next time.

All in all, hats off to Chef Ludo for sharing such a heart-stoppingly delicious chicken. Despite the unrestrained use of butter, the chicken was satisfying and not too heavy. Long live Ludo.


  1. WOW. That looks so amazing. I feel like I can smell it! The skin looks unreal.

  2. This looks incredible! A written recipe seems hard to find online...any pointers?


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