Today’s post features a recipe by Eric Ripert. He’s the French chef who owns Le Bernardin, among other places. He frequently stars on Top Chef as a guest judge, making the contestants pee their pants every time they have to cook for him. He has pretty hair.
He also has a show on PBS, Avec Eric Ripert, where he travels around being fancy, meeting people and cooking up things. He also has a new cookbook by the same name. I don’t have this cookbook, but his recipe, Roasted Chicken with Za’atar Stuffing, is published on the show’s website.
As you know, if you have been following along, we love Middle Eastern food, and za’atar is a spice blend commonly used in this type of cooking. There’s a photo of it baked on pitas in my Ode to Detroit post. Naturally, when I saw this recipe I had to try it although I was worried Monsieur Ripert was trying to kill me by suggesting I eat stuffing actually stuffed into a bird.
The stuffing consists of diced crusty bread, chopped parsley, lemon zest, minced garlic and za’atar, all mixed with olive oil. He suggests a quarter cup of oil for 1.5 cups of bread. I used less than half of that, and the stuffing turned out super oily and gross, although the flavor is nice. I would eat it baked in a pan with even less oil.
The methodology surrounding the cooking of the actual chicken was odd. He had me hack off the wings, and set the chicken on top of them. I don’t know why–a rack would have worked just as well, and the wings would have been crispy. I used a Polyface Farms broiler, and I hate that they do not cut off the neck. I had to use my kitchen shears, and the bone crunching is just sickening.
The stuffed chicken is oiled up, salted and peppered and roasted at 450 for 20 minutes, when the temperature is decreased to 350, and garlic cloves are tossed in the pan. The chicken was fine, if a bit bland.
I much prefer the Thomas Keller roast chicken recipe, where the chicken is roasted at 450 for 50-60 minutes, because the bird was more tender, and the skin was more crispy. I have to say that I am a bit disappointed in Eric Ripert, and this may color how I view his judging on Top Chef. His hair is still pretty, though.