Day 3 Dinner: Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken avec Jus, Spinach and Gruyere Gratin, and Salade de Fenouil Cru

Thomas doesn’t like to do things the easy way — he likes to do them the hard way. Masochism? Perfectionism? A little bit of both, we think. But we love it. Yes, we do.


The chicken takes two days — day 1 involves making your brine (which you let your whole chicken sleep in overnight) in addition to starting the jus (which you ladle over your chicken on the finished plate and soak up with your bread and gratin).

The brine is as simple as Thomas gets – 8 common ingredients (spices like peppercorns, bay leaves and lemons) are boiled briefly in water and cooled before giving your chick its spa treatment.

The jus is complex but so worth it – first you long-roast 6 pounds of meaty chicken backs (the butcher can prepare these for you and they’re not very expensive), and then you simmer them for hours in water with a few other simple ingredients while skimming off the impurities. Once you reduce this puppy down it becomes a rich, brown… jus. What is a jus? It’s like gravy’s younger, better looking skinny brother. No cream, no flour. Just juicy, succulent yumminess.

The result is the best chicken we’ve ever had. Needless to say, we won’t be making turkey this Thanksgiving,  oh no we won’t.

The sides: Kitty Morse’s salade de fenouil cru (raw fennel) and Ina Garten‘s bechamelly spinach and gruyere gratin. Easy, quick, and the perfect complements to the juicy, savory poulet.

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Framed with our own homemade baguette and locally made ‘Deep End Zin’ made by valley neighbor Susan Lewis (formerly of Marguerite Vineyard), this meal could not have been more tasty.



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