Ned Baldwin would never have discovered how to roast chicken at high speed without the horrifying things he witnessed early in his restaurant career. He found that restaurants often roast chicken and heat it until someone orders, and only then does the bird go into a hot oven for roasting?
Baldwin said to me, “That just grossed me out.” “Chicken tastes like fish, and it should not be cooked twice.
He wanted to try a new way at Houseman in New York City. He was almost comically successful after some experiments: he can now get chickens fully roasted from raw in just 18 minutes.
This sounded crazy to me. Baldwin’s promise appealed to me, even though I had given up roasting chickens years ago because of the frustrations over how long it took. Baldwin’s How To Dress An Egg cookbook was just a few minutes away. I immediately bought a small chicken (3.3 lbs) and followed the instructions. Dinner was ready in 24 minutes.
Baldwin’s recipe is successful because it is a restaurant recipe at its core. It is full of little details that make the difference between a good bird and a slow or fast one, and these details are:
Buy a small chicken.
The most important thing for a quick-cooking bird is to ensure there aren’t too many birds to cook. Baldwin’s recipe calls to cook a chicken weighing two and a half and three pounds. Restaurants can place special orders and find smaller birds, which will be difficult for you. Your best option is likely to go to a farmers market. You can find three to four pounds chickens, but it is possible to get smaller ones. It will take longer to cook, but the technique can be used.
Remove as many bones as you can
Spatchcocking the bird, removing the chicken’s backbone, allows it to cook faster, lay flat, and get crispy. This technique is non-negotiable. You can also remove the breastbone and rib bones if you’re willing to go that extra mile. This will make a difference in the time it takes to cook a bird. Are you desperate for those 12 minutes? You should remove the breastbone (or have your butcher do it for you).
Make a hot oven floor.
The oven should be heated to 475 degrees. After that, let it heat for about half an hour. The racks may be removed from the range, and they are not necessary. This chicken will be cooked skin-down in a large skillet placed on the oven’s flooring above the heating element. This is where the stove heats the most. Baldwin stated that the pan would get an extra push if placed on the oven’s floor. It quickly cooks the water out of the bird, giving the bird a crispy skin.
I found that heat can also push more oil and chicken fat from the pan. So be prepared for lots of sputtering and clean up after dinner.
Have fun with salt
It’s not about the cooking times, but it is critical to the recipe. Baldwin recommends salting your bird at least 2 hours before roasting it. If possible, you should leave it in the fridge for 24 hours. Baldwin suggests something straightforward: You weigh your bird and add 1.1-1.4 percent salt to it. The recipe says that a two 1/2-pound chicken, after deboning weighs 1,134g. You’ll need between 12.5 and 15.8 grams, depending on how salty you like it.
If you feel bold, you could increase the salt to 1.5%. “1.5% is fine dining salt. Baldwin stated that it was “almost perfect.” “But we’ve gotten down to 1.2% [at Houseman]; that is neighborhood restaurant level,” I recommend the higher amount. This is a restaurant-style roast of chicken, and season it as a restaurant-style roast chicken.