A Return Home: Roast Chicken with Crispy Drippings Croûtons

What Nick cooks when he feels nostalgic for simplicity.

10th Mar 2009 Nick Kindelsperger


I think part of the reason I took a break from roast chicken was the rising absurdity of my preparations.  A few years ago I had chased after juicy meat and crispy skin, by trying various combinations of slow roasting , extreme slow roasting , experiments with baking soda , and high, high heat .  The results were often spectacular, if never quite practical.  And somewhere along the line the game lost its fun.

What's so appealing about this recipe is the glorification of a very simple process.  This recipe is dead simple.  It's cooked at a moderate 425 degrees for an hour and fifteen minutes.  No basting, no turning, no...nothing.  Meanwhile, all the juices that have dripped off the bird are soaked up by the stale bread slices underneath.  After the roast they came off like the best croûtons you can imagine.  While I rested the bird for 10 minutes, I nearly ate all of the bread slices.  They were that good.

The actual chicken was infused with a whole head of garlic and lemon, so it was delicious, too.  It was a welcome return.  That's not to say I'm giving up my acidity or my braised chickens, but that I can have it all.  That's what's fun.

Roast Chicken with Crispy Drippings Croûtons

  • 1 chicken
  • Stale bread,
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt and black pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Cut the stale bread into 1/2 inch slices.


You'll need as many that will comfortably fit into whatever vessel you're going to roast the chicken in.  As you can see, I used a relatively small iron skillet.  Pour 1/2 of the olive on to of the bread slices and rub them around to coat as much of the bread as possible.  Then sprinkle on a little salt.


Slice the garlic head in half horizontally.  Don't remove the skins.


Season the inside of the chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Then stuff it with the lemon, garlic, and bay leaf.


Rub the other half of the olive oil onto the chicken.  Then season with salt and pepper.


Roast for an hour and fifteen minutes, or until the juices run clear when you poke it with a knife.  Remove it from the pan and let it rest on a cutting board for 10-15 minutes.


The bread slices will look pale and soggy.  But flip them over and admire their beauty.


Oh what beauty!  Try not to eat all of these while the chicken is resting.


Serve the bread with the chicken.  Maybe a little mustard, if you're like me, would be good.


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