Anthony Bourdain Once Said Learning to Roast a Chicken Is an ‘Obligation’: ‘It’s a Life Skill That Should Be Taught to Small Children’

Don’t know how to roast a chicken? It’s one of the few basic kitchen skills everyone should have, according to Anthony Bourdain. Luckily for everyone who might need a little help mastering the skill, the celebrity chef once shared exactly how to roast a chicken. And the good news is that it’s not as complicated as it might seem. Bourdain’s roast chicken recipe combines simple and fresh ingredients for a wow-worthy meal.

Anthony Bourdain called roasting a chicken a ‘life skill’ kids should be taught in school

Anthony Bourdain smirks as he wears a black suit, holds a microphone, and looks on
Anthony Bourdain | Larry French/Getty Images for DC Central Kitchen

In November 2016, the host of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown told Epicurious just how strongly he felt about roast chicken. Sharing his own roast chicken recipe — Roast Chicken With Lemon And Butter to be exact — the cookbook author explained that it should be in everyone’s recipe repertoire.

“Everyone should know how to roast a chicken. It’s a life skill that should be taught to small children at school,” he said. 

Then the celebrity chef took it a step further and said knowing how to roast a chicken should be a “hallmark of good citizenry.”  

“The ability to properly prepare a moist yet thoroughly cooked bird, with nicely crisp skin, should be a hallmark of good citizenry—an obligation to your fellow man,” he said. “Everyone walking down the street should be reasonably confident that the random person next to them is prepared, if called upon, to roast a chicken.”

Anthony Bourdain’s roast chicken recipe calls for 12 ingredients  

Ditch the idea that hours upon hours have to be spent roasting a chicken like a Thanksgiving turkey for it to be any good. The dish doesn’t have to be complicated and Bourdain’s roast chicken recipe, originally featured in Appetites: A Cookbook, proves it. 

Bourdain’s recipe calls for a relatively pared-back amount of ingredients. 12 in all not counting the optional butcher’s twine for trussing. In doing so it’s crucial to use ingredients that are the best of the best. 

Bourdain’s suggestion? Find the “best-quality chicken” around, preferably organic. Also on the ingredient list is fresh herbs, wine, and chicken stock. Don’t forget the lemon and butter because, otherwise, it wouldn’t be Roast Chicken With Lemon And Butter.

The ‘Parts Unknown’ host served his roast chicken with a lemon sauce

Anthony Bourdain smiles wearing a black outfit
Anthony Bourdain | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Unlike Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten’s roast chicken, Bourdain’s roast chicken recipe doesn’t stop at getting the bird in the oven and taking it out when it’s done cooking. His recipe involves the pan juices being used as the base for a lemon sauce. 

The instructions go something like this: Skim off as much fat as possible from the pan juices. Then put the roasting pan on the stove and stir in the wine and lemon juice. Boil the liquid until it’s reduced by half. Next, stir in the chicken stock and, once again, bring it to a boil. After the liquid’s removed by half strain the liquid into a saucepan. Put it on the stovetop and slowly add butter. Once the mixture’s thickened, add seasoning to taste. 

What reviewers have to say about Bourdain’s roast chicken recipe

Those who have reviewed Bourdain’s recipe love it. One reviewer called it an “excellent roast chicken,” describing it as “easy and tasty.” Another, after making it multiple times, said it had become a staple. 

“I’ve made this at least 4 or 5 times now, and it’s my go-to roast chicken recipe,” they said. “Chicken comes out moist and flavourful every time and it’s so easy to make! My husband and kids love the chicken and the lemony sauce that goes along with the chicken.”

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