Recipe: miso butter roast chicken
Before it got dark, before the kids would start coming around to trick or treat, I took Kaweah for a quick walk up a local trail. There were clouds stretched across the sky in wide horizontal strokes, but enough space for the sun to light them up from below the horizon. I watched them turn yellow, then orange. “Come on, pup! Let’s get to the top of the hill!” She climbed as fast as her little old legs would take her and when we got to the clearing at the top, she got her treat.
waiting for a scooby snack
…and i got my treat
We walked back as night began to envelop the neighborhood. I gave Kaweah a stick to carry because she trots faster that way. Jeremy met us half-way down the street as he had just gotten home and had set Halloween candy out. I love fall and I love Halloween because it’s a no-pressure, festive, and fun holiday. I like it because it’s about the kid in all of us. I also like Halloween because it was Halloween night twenty years ago when Jeremy first held my hand. Technically, it was November 1, but it was a continuation of Halloween. The early years were, as my dearest Barbara would say, young love. It has since evolved into the best and strongest relationship of my life. I feel fortunate, because at 21 (or 19) you are pretty much guaranteed to make a lot of bad and dumb decisions, but I think I lucked out big time back in 1992. I still feel that way today. Happy twenty years of awesome, Jeremy!
Today’s recipe is a special one, because it comes from a dear friend of mine. For our girls’ weekend we spent an evening cooking up a feast. Ellen made her world-famous Caesar salad, I contributed the gremolata smasher potatoes, and Kat made her miso butter roast chicken. Phenomenal meal all around, but the moment I tasted that chicken, the first coherent words out of my mouth were, “Kat, do you mind if I blog this recipe?” It’s just too good to not share with everyone.
all you need: garlic, miso paste, butter, olive oil, mirin, and chicken
first, roast the garlic
golden, buttery, mellow roasted garlic
The only thing you need to do ahead of time is roast a bulb of garlic and let the butter come to room temperature. This chicken is relatively quick and easy to prepare, particularly if you roast parts rather than a whole chicken (but I give instructions for both in the recipe below). We were all fans of dark meat, so Ellen got chicken thighs. My favorite way to enjoy dark meat from a chicken is via the chicken quarter – the thigh and drumstick. Majorly fantastic in every way.
beat the miso into the butter
add the roasted garlic (and a dash of mirin)
a smooth miso butter
The miso butter is exactly that – white miso paste beaten into unsalted butter and then there is the roasted garlic and a dash of mirin if you desire (it’s optional, really). We also tried some of the miso butter on bread and it was pretty darn good. Be sure to get some of the butter under the skin. It takes a little finesse to get the butter to stay on the chicken rather than on your hand. I generally try to shove a blob under the skin, then press the skin from above to help distribute the butter evenly. Getting a nice coat of butter on the outside is much easier. Also, if you’re thinking of omitting the skin, please don’t. That’s the best part, you know. The. Best. Part.
get a layer of miso butter under the skin
and then slather it on the outside
season with salt and pepper
Roast the chicken until done, which is determined by an internal temperature reading of 165°F-170°F. This should be about 30 minutes unless you are roasting a whole bird (this is discussed in the recipe below). Hopefully you will achieve a nice, crisped, golden skin on the chicken too. I can’t speak to how long it takes to roast if you are using chicken breast meat because I won’t do it. Dark meat is superior in every way.
spoon some pan drippings over the chicken
The miso isn’t a pronounced flavor, but it is definitely there lending an added dimension to the butter and garlic. Call it umami. It is delightful served with roasted potatoes (classic pairing). If you don’t find white (or yellow) miso paste in your local grocery store, try an Asian grocery store which will almost certainly carry it. A keeper of a recipe from a good friend – a gift.
buttery umami chicken
Miso Butter Roast Chicken
from Kathya at Chocolocateria
5 lbs. chicken quarters (or thighs/drumsticks) or a 5 lb. whole chicken (roaster), skin on!!
1 bulb garlic, roasted
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup white miso paste
dash of mirin
freshly ground black pepper
[To roast the garlic, cut the very top of the bulb off with a sharp knife. Place the bulb in a small ramekin or foil pouch and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the top. Cover with foil and bake at 400°F for 30 minutes or more until the flesh is soft, golden, and nutty in flavor. Remove the cloves from the skin. Discard the garlic skins.]
Preheat oven to 400°F for chicken parts or 425°F for a whole chicken, with rack set in the middle. If using a whole chicken, remove the neck and giblets from the cavity. Discard or reserve for a later use.
Beat the butter in a mixing bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or you can do this by hand) until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the miso paste and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Put the roasted garlic cloves in the butter and beat until incorporated (you want the cloves to get mashed up). Add a dash of mirin – maybe a teaspoon – and mix until combined.
Place your fingers under the chicken skin to separate the skin from the flesh without tearing it off. The goal is to create a pocket for the miso butter. Using a knife or a spatula or your hands (hands are easiest, but also messiest) spread an even layer of miso butter under the skin. Do this for as much of the chicken as possible. If using chicken quarters, thighs, and/or drumsticks, repeat for all pieces of chicken. When that is done, spread butter all over the outside of the chicken skin in a generous layer.
Arrange the chicken quarters, thighs and/or drumsticks on a rimmed baking sheet. I lined mine with foil for easier cleanup, but do what suits your fancy. If roasting a whole chicken, arrange on a roasting rack, breast-side up, over a roasting pan, and truss the bird. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper over the chicken. Roast the parts for about 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat registers 165-170°F. Roast the whole bird for 40 minutes or until the breast is nicely browned. Then flip the bird (ha ha!) over and roast until a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165-170°F (this takes about 20 minutes more).
Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle some of the pan drippings over the chicken before serving. Serves 4-6.