Roasted Chicken

This recipe, which I developed for Le Pichet in 2000, is designed to produce a perfectly roasted, crispy skinned chicken in just under 1 hour.  Since the recipe is so simple with almost no added flavors to hide the great taste of the chicken, choose the best quality bird you can get your hands on.  Note that the high roasting temperature can result in a fair amount of smoke.  If you don’t have a hood or fan in your kitchen, this can be a problem.  I use grey salt or sel gris from Brittany for this recipe.

Serves 2.


1 roasting chicken, about 3.5 lbs.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
black pepper


  1. Trim the chicken by removing the wishbone, tail, any extra fat in the cavity and the first joint of the wings. Truss the chicken. Preheat the oven to 500 deg F.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy pan large enough to hold the chicken comfortably (I prefer copper or cast iron). Put the chicken in the pan on its back, and baste thoroughly with the melted butter, making sure to get butter all over including in the cavity.
  3. Sprinkle the upper surfaces of the chicken with the sea salt. Season well with fresh ground black pepper. Move the pan and chicken to the oven.
  4. Roast the chicken for about 55 minutes, basting with pan drippings every 15 minutes. The chicken is done when a knife stuck in the deepest part of the thigh comes out hot. Do not overcook.
  5. Move the chicken to a serving platter and remove the trussing string. Carve the bird and serve immediately.

8 thoughts on “Roasted Chicken”

  1. John Brzezinski

    My wife and I dined at Le Pichet about 6 weeks ago. The restaurant ambiance and service were outstanding, but your chicken was simply sublime. It was so good that we returned to Le Pichet two nights later for an encore. Yes, we ordered the chicken again. And again, it was sublime. Bravo!

    Of course, I was delighted to find that you posted the recipe. I plan to try my hand at it at home.

  2. My boyfriend and I were in Seattle 2 years ago. A coworker recommended Le Pichet and said you have to get the chicken. We did and haven’t stopped thinking about it since! I found a recipe that said it was the Le Pichet chicken pretty soon after or trip there. I made it and it was delicious but it was just slightly different. It said to just lay the stick of butter on the top of the chicken and put it in the oven like that. It didn’t say to melt it first. It also recommended rotating the chicken every 15 minutes on all 4 sides. But I have been following this sites recipe for the last year and it’s so delicious. I’m actually making it right now. My home smells DELICIOUS!!!

    1. Hello Kim; Thanks so much for your kind words about Le Pichet. You are right that the recipe you describe is not the way that we do it, as you will know by comparing with the recipe on my blog. I am curious, you say that the recipe you read said it was “Le Pichet’s”? Where did you see that at? Best – Jim

  3. Thank you for the great recipe!

    I took to heart your recommendation to get the highest quality bird possible (I am lucky enough to live near wonderful farm shops, like this one: and was very happy with the results, as were my guests. Utter simplicity and flavor.

    Now we just need an equally good chicken stock recipe that uses the leftover carcass…

    Thanks again!

  4. Hi. My husband and I just returned from a trip to Seattle and we ordered this chicken at your restaurant. I recall a small bit of sauce. Was that just the pan juices, or do you make a pan sauce with a little wine? I’m surprised at how simple this recipe is because it is so memorably delicious.

    Also, what happens if you don’t remove the wishbone and tail? Is that just aesthetic or does it affect the cooking process?

    1. We generally do serve a sauce with the chicken; for example right now we are serving a roasted sweet pepper coulis.
      Removing the tail is just for looks, for basically the same reason that the wing tips are removed in a good French restaurant. The wishbone needs to come out or it interferes proper carving of the breast.

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