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Chef Daniel Boulud is a culinary legend with nine books, two Michelin stars and nineteen restaurants, including his flagship Restaurant Daniel in NYC (get an exclusive video tour here). Here, he shares a dish he says he'll never take off his menu: the "ultimate" roasted chicken. It's brined, stuffed with lemon, garlic and herbs and rubbed with butter before cooking. The result lives up to its name, with crispy skin, juicy, flavorful meat and a heavenly aroma! He likes to serve it with his Potato Gratin


For the Brine:
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup honey
For the Chicken:
  • 1 whole chicken, neck removed
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 5 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature


Serves: 4


For the brine, combine the water, garlic, thyme and bay leaf in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Add the salt and honey and simmer just until the salt is dissolved. Strain into a heatproof container and top up the water so the total amount is 2 quarts. Chill fully.  

For the chicken, tie the bird with butcher's twine to secure the legs against the breast. When the brine is cold, combine it with the chicken in a resealable plastic bag or a large container with the chicken fully submerged, then place in the fridge. After 1 hour, remove the chicken from the brine and dry in the fridge overnight, uncovered. 

The next day, preheat your oven to 425°F, with a rack in the center position. 

Stuff the lemon, garlic cloves and herbs inside the chicken's cavity. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and rub the softened butter over the skin so it is well coated. Transfer the pan to the center rack and roast for 15 minutes, basting once with the drippings in the pan. 

Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue cooking for another 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for about 20 to 30 minutes before carving.