Roast Chicken

Main Courses | October 25, 2009 | By

I have had a number of emails from people asking me for the recipe for the roast chicken that led to the chicken n dumplings.

I first want to say that I have been roasting chickens for 20 years now and this is hands down the most tasty and succulent roast chicken recipe that I have ever used. In fact, it is so good that we have been having a lot of roast chicken this fall. Also, besides the chicken n dumplings it leads to great stock and if there are any leftovers ( lots of times there aren’t!) you can make chicken salad or burritos or whatever.

Last night I adapted this recipe to cornish hens. The only thing I left out was stuffing the cavities of the hens as I had already split them. I was a little worried because it is easy to overwhelm cornish hens but they turned out great! I had too many to fit on my roasting rack so I roasted them on a bed of carrots, onions and lemons and the were wonderful.

I would add that I often make gravy from the pan drippings and sometimes I just add a little wine and chicken broth and don’t even bother with flour and butter and it is delicious. Whatever you do, don’t waste those pan drippings!!

This recipe is from Jan Birnbaum. I saw him cook this chicken in a cook-off with Michael Chiarello. If you don’t have all of the spices, don’t worry, I have made it without the cumin and it is great. Just use whatever you have on hand, or substitute something else if you want.

Happy roasting!

Jan Birnbaum’s Roasted Chicken

Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello

Prep Time: 30 min

Inactive Prep Time: 12 hr 0 min

Cook Time: 1 hr 10 min

Level: Intermediate

Serves: 4 servings



• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

• 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

• 2 tablespoons lemon juice

• 1 garlic clove, minced

• 1 large shallot, minced

• 1/2 bunch tarragon, leaves finely chopped

• 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 tablespoons melted bacon fat

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1 (4 to 6-pound) chicken

• 2 tablespoons Seasoning Mix, recipe follows


• 1 medium onion, cut into thirds

• 2 bay leaves, broken up

• 2 sprigs rosemary

• 1 head garlic, peeled and smashed

• 1 lemon, cut into eighths

• Big pinch freshly ground nutmeg

• 20 whole black peppercorns

• 2 tablespoons mustard seeds

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Seasoning mix:

2 tablespoons kosher salt

3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Blend seasoning mix ingredients. Set aside.


To make the marinade, combine the vinegars, lemon juice, garlic, shallots, and tarragon. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and bacon fat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Coat chicken inside and out with the marinade and refrigerate, covered, overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard marinade. Season chicken inside and out with 1 1/2 tablespoons seasoning mix.

Mix the stuffing ingredients, and stuff it into the chicken. Truss the chicken and roast for 40 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the bird to continue to cook in the oven for about 20 more minutes.

Chef’s tip: Marinate the chicken in a sealed plastic bag.

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