Thursday, February 5, 2009

Zuni Cafe's Roasted Chicken

Zuni Cafe's recipe for Roast Chicken is the easiest roast chicken recipe I've made to date. Oh wait. In the past I haven't exactly used a recipe. I just followed Mom's expert advice and winged it with a small piece of citrus in the middle and thorough rub down of the chicken with salt, pepper, etc. before placing it in an oven cooking bag. I also have poached chickens twice in a just barely large enough pot.

While those results were tasty, this recipe trumps the aforementioned methods due to its fantastic results without the oven bag.* If you aren't squeamish about feeling around a small chicken, this recipe will provide fantastic results. Typically I don't enjoy skin on my chicken, but this crispy, not greasy, skin was an exception. The chicken itself is tender and moist on its own or an excellent source for making chicken salad, stir fries and soups during the remainder of the week.

I didn't even use marjoram as I couldn't find it fresh, without spending way too much for something I only needed a 1/4 sprig of. Best of all the clean-up was minimal and the pan juices were quite tasty mingled with the leftover brown rice, cherry tomatoes and parmesan in the fridge.

*Unless you want chicken soup and stock, in which case poaching the chicken is probably the best choice.


  1. This is one of eric's favorite recipes - and my favorite to eat when he cooks! He went to Zuni when he was out west visiting several years ago and i think it still tops his best restaurant list. I think he was a little angry to see that Deb at Smitten Kitchen got around to posting it before he did ;-)

    I guess I should have let him leave all this in a comment but I got to it first!

  2. Melanie beat me to the punch, but this is indeed one of my favorite chicken recipes. I usually use a few sprigs of rosemary or sometimes thyme under the skin of the breast and thighs to flavor the chicken as it roasts.

    One of the most important steps for me is often taken for granted. That step is selecting the chicken itself. I have found some very flavorful birds at the farmers market that fit the bill perfectly for this recipe since it is essential to get a bird under 4 pounds to keep the skin to meat ratio high and keep the breast from drying out while roasting at high heat.

    Zuni Cafe is a fantastic restaurant! I recommend it if you're ever in San Fran.(It was over 5 years ago when I went so I assume it hasn't gone downhill since).

  3. Haha. Zuni Cafe is definitely be on my list whenever I make it to San Francisco. Molly at Orangette also frequently references Zuni Cafe's cookbook!

    I try hard to buy my chicken from the Farmer's Market, but in a pinch I go to Whole Foods and look for a little bird. It all depends on how much time I have to grocery shop and how much money I have left to spend on food in the given month.

    Excellent tips, Eric. :)