I’m sure Ed and I are not the only Hamersley’s fans missing that restaurant’s fantastic roast chicken. I plan to master that recipe over the next few months. I’ve made it once or twice. But, as long as I could just take a walk to Tremont Street to enjoy the finished product, I let the Hamersley’s kitchen do the work.
Start with the Recipe
First, of course, you need the recipe. It's in the cookbook Bistro Cooking at Home By Gordon Hamersley. And, while this is currently out of print, you can buy used or even a few treasured new copies on Amazon. You can also check local, used bookstores. I highly recommend having a copy of this book on your shelf and I look forward to the next publication from this great food champion.
And, if you prefer visual instruction, here is a link to Gordon Hamersley's appearance with Julia Child as a part of her Master Chefs series.
There are many steps to this signature dish. Fortunately, the process that Gordon Hamersley (and his first sous chef Jody Adams) developed to serve a perfectly roasted chicken with a crispy skin and moist interior also makes it a great party dish for a home cook.
The chicken is roasted ahead of time and popped under a broiler for heating and crisping before it is served. I love dishes like this that I can make a day ahead because they let me spend more time with my guests.
Begin With Shopping
Of course, to come out with a result like the dish served at Hamersley’s, you have to begin as the chef did with the finest ingredients you can find. In his tips for choosing chicken, the chef suggests trying chickens from smaller producers or kosher brands.
In 2003, when Gordon Hamersley wrote “Bistro Cooking at Home,” he said what many locavores are saying now, “... getting a more flavorful bird that has also been raised free of antibiotics and hormone injections seems to me to be worth the price.”
You begin this dish by preparing an herbed lemon pesto marinade. You rub this all over the clean and dried chicken and let it marinate 2-4 hours in the refrigerator.
Next, the chicken is roasted to an internal thigh temperature of 165-170 degrees and rested before cutting and deboning. The final step in this part of the preparation is to make the sauce from the pan drippings.
When it’s time to serve the chicken, you broil it with lemon slices on top and the sauce in the pan below until the skin is crisp and the meat is heated.
This dish requires many steps with a good bit of waiting time for some of them, but it is not a difficult recipe. Dozens of Hamersley’s cooks mastered it over the years. And, I can’t wait until I can make it without glancing at the cookbook just as they did.
If I master the chicken, next up on my list will be the perfect duck confit that was so tempting on the Hamersley's menu and is often such a disappointment when I order it elsewhere.
What's on your Food Lover's shopping list?
Words: Penny Cherubino (adapted from one of her Fresh & Local newspaper columns)
Photos: ©2008 Penny Cherubino