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Video: Richard Blais spices up classic roast chicken

  1. Closed captioning of: Richard Blais spices up classic roast chicken

    >> this morning in "today's" kitchen, spicing up your roast chicken. richard blais is out with a new cookbook, "try this at

    home: recipes from my head, literally, to your plate." i love that cover shot.

    >> it was fun. it was fun.

    >> well done. usually, you have liquid nitrogen . today you're making it easy for all of us.

    >> ancient tools. anybody can do this at home.

    >> try this at home.

    >> we're talking about roast chicken.

    >> which we all love. sometimes it can be sort of blaise. yours, we kick it up a notch.

    >> brianing, bryaning, you add sugar, salt, spices to water. it's fail proof.

    >> kind of like what you do for the turkey.

    >> turkey, brine. you can do it for the chicken. szechuan peppercorns. put it in the fridge. let it sit overnight. that will make sure the bird retains all of its moisture, easy to cook. because it's salted you don't have to worry about overseasoning the bird. it's done for you. that's the first step.

    >> wonderful.

    >> the most exciting part.

    >> lemon curd , right?

    >> lemon curd .

    >> i think of dessert.

    >> it's a play off of black pepper and lemon chicken , which you can find in most markets. this is lemon jouice and sugar. what we're going to do -- actually, what you're going to do if you don't mind.

    >> sure. get to work here.

    >> is there gelatin at all?

    >> no, just the sugar and lemon juice . beautiful bright acidity of the lemon juice and the richness of the butter. you have the sweetness from a little bit of the sugar.

    >> there's no reason to buy the stuff you see on the store shelves?

    >> you don't have to. quite honestly for this recipe, you could. it's fine. it marinades the bird and glazes the bird. store bought would be fine.

    >> this is lemon curd when it's done.

    >> smells good, too.

    >> doesn't it sound nice and romantic? lemon curd . usually i'm cooking, as you said, with high-tech gadgets. liquid nitrogen . this is the most ancient tool, mortar. we're going to crush black pepper and coriander. want to take out some aggression?

    >> always. always.

    >> jump in there. crush the coriander and black pepper . it doesn't have to be super fine. rosemary and sage in the lemon curd . that looks great. you'll dump all those spices into the lemon curd as well.

    >> through the magic of -- it's heavy.

    >> take out your aggression, get a little workout.

    >> there you go. mix that up.

    >> simply mix all of that up. the fun part, we're going to season our bird. you see recipes that say put pounds and pounds of butter under the skin of the bird. we're actually going to put the lemon curd inside there. it's a two-person job. you have to get in there.

    >> you have to get in there, right.

    >> massage it.

    >> make it feel good.

    >> under the skin and on top of the skin here.

    >> how long are you going to put it in the oven for?

    >> 400 degrees and start it with a high heat, nice brown crust. sugar in the lemon curd will enable it to caramelize.

    >> how long does it take to cook down to that?

    >> about an hour. of course, it dpensd on tepends on the size of your bird. but about an hour.

    >> and then you have artichokes, right?

    >> northern california mood.

    >> i like that.

    >> it's artichoke season. artichokes finished on the grill. carve up our bird.

    >> it's that good. richard blais , delicious. thank you. we're going to eat, take a little break. we're back in a moment. this is "today" on nbc.

    >>> wonderful.

    >> oh, yeah. that bird is going to be gone.

    >>> coming up tomorrow, designer clothes under 100 bucks.

    >>> and soleil moon frye is going to stop by.

    >>> donnie wahlberg is coming up with hoda and kathie lee

TODAY recipes
updated 2/27/2013 10:11:05 AM ET 2013-02-27T15:11:05

Recipe: Lemon curd and black pepper roasted chicken

  • The brine
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 8 cups water
  • Scant 1 cup Kosher salt
  • 1 fresh red Thai chile, sliced, or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • One 4- to 5-pound free-range chicken
  • Lemon curd
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon water

To brine the chicken: Put the black peppercorns, Szechuan peppercorns, if using, and coriander seeds into a saucepan and toast over medium-low heat, swirling the pan, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the water and the salt, raise the heat to medium-high, and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 6 cups water and the chile. Let cool to room temperature.

Rinse the chicken well under cold water. Transfer to a tall narrow plastic container just large enough to hold it. Pour the brine over the chicken and adjust the bird if necessary so it is completely immersed. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours, or preferably overnight.

To make the lemon curd: Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and lemon zest and juice until combined. Put the pan over low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is very thick and hot, but just below a simmer, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter a little at a time until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, press the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a small bowl to remove the zest. Cover and let stand until cool or refrigerate if not using right away.

Position a rack in a roasting pan. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels and set it on the rack in the pan. Let the chicken come to room temperature, 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Coarsely crush the black peppercorns and coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle or on a cutting board with the bottom of a small pan. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the rosemary and sage. Add three-quarters of the spice mixture to the lemon curd, along with the water, and stir to combine.

Pat the chicken again with paper towels to make sure it is completely dry. Gently loosen the skin by sliding your fingers between the breast and skin and working them down to the thighs and drumsticks. Spoon half the lemon curd under the breast skin and use your hands to spread the curd evenly under the loosened skin all the way to the legs. With kitchen twine, tie the legs together tightly. Brush the remaining curd evenly over the surface of the chicken, coating the whole bird. Sprinkle the remaining spice mix evenly over the chicken. Return to the rack in the pan and pour 1 cup of water into the pan.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325°F and continue roasting until the chicken is golden brown and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced, 1 1/2to 1 3/4hours. Add water 1/2 cup at a time to the pan if it starts to dry out. Let the chicken stand for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Serving Size

Serves 4

Recipe: Charred artichokes with smoky lemon aioli

  • 4 large globe artichokes, stems trimmed
  • 1 cup Aioli or good-quality store-bought mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Crystal, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Set a steamer basket in a large saucepan or stock pot with a lid, fill with 1 inch of water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Set the artichokes stem end down in the basket, cover, and steam until a knife meets no resistance when piercing the stem of an artichoke, 20 to 25 minutes. Slice the artichokes in half lengthwise.

Heat a well-oiled grill or cast-iron skillet. Place the artichokes in, cut side down, on the hot surface and let sit until they are slightly blackened. (Charred or just steamed, the artichokes can be served warm or slightly chilled.)

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the aioli, dill, capers, lemon zest and juice, sea salt, and paprika until well combined. Add the hot sauce and black pepper and stir.


To serve, arrange artichokes in four salad plates, and divide the aioli mixture among small bowls for dipping.

Serving Size

Serves 4

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