Winner, Winner, Chez Panisse Chicken Dinner

We appreciate each and every vote cast for us as nominees for the second annual Country Living Magazine Blue Ribbon Blogger Awards. Sadly, they were not enough to clinch the “Reader’s Choice” honor. (According to Mitt Romney, we should have offered contraceptives, amnesty, aid for dependent children and other “free stuff.”) But even better, the judges picked us as the year’s best new cooking blog! We heard the news when we were in Normandy, but had to keep mum until Tuesday, when we were treated to a lovely fête that encompassed an office tour, information about event sponsor Rust-oleum (Steve will forever cherish the knowledge that its inventor originally called it “Fish-oleum”) and a congratulatory lunch atop Hearst Tower overlooking Central Park.

We could go on about the admiring comments, the excitement of a free trip to New York (including meeting the fabulous Bacon Biscuit IRL and trying her delicious bacon candy) and the Sally Field-esque realization that yes, somebody likes us—really likes us! Instead, we’ve decided to honor Chez Panisse’s simple roast chicken.  As the intro to the recipe in Paul Bertolli and Alice Waters’ 1988 Chez Panisse Cooking (on which we long ago wrote “Perfect!”) states:

More than a recipe, this is a tribute to roast chicken, which can hardly be improved upon by the additions of a sauce or fancy seasonings. A well-roasted chicken requires neither of these embellishments.  By itself it is plenty juicy and its crisp skin heightens the flavor of the flesh much like a sauce.

We basically started this blog as a handy way to reference our favorite recipes, after all—but somehow we’ve ended up with interesting new friends all over the world. Hooray, Internet, and thank you Country Living!


(adapted from Paul Bertolli and Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Cooking)

  • 1 free-range, preferably locally-raised, chicken (3-4 lbs.)
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Bunch of herbs (optional)

Liberally season the chicken.  Do not skimp on the salt. If you have some thyme, rosemary and/or parsley, you can stuff some into the cavity.

Place the bird in a roasting pan without a rack.  Let it come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Roast the bird for 1 hour.  Let it cool for at least 5 minutes before carving.



    • Oh, do, and let us know how it turns out. It may be our most-made recipe, now that good chickens are available. (And, of course, I am not putting any of your beautiful girls in the edible category.)

  1. Congratulations!!!!!! Gourmandistan’s very well deserved win 🙂

    It was great to finally meet and hang out with you guys too! I had so much fun and look forward to the next time. Maybe we can all shave pig heads together . . . 😉

    This chicken looks divine. My host mother in France always told me that you never roast a chicken for fancy company, only for your most cherished family and friends. So this chicken given to us readers makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside 🙂 Thanks, Michelle and Steve! You guys are the best!

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