Million Dollar Chicken

Have you been watching the Barefoot Contessa lately? If so, you may have noticed there’s a slightly different format to her show these days (which I’m totally loving!).  Instead of the typical routine of cooking a few recipes in her home kitchen, Ina’s hitting the town. Each episode shows Ina (and sometimes Geoffrey) checking out New York City hot spots and featuring some of these establishments’ famous recipes. I was completely drawn into a recent episode that included a visit to The Standard Grill at The Standard hotel in NYC’s meatpacking district, showcasing their Million Dollar Chicken.
 
I actually had the chance to eat at the Standard Grill when I was in NYC back in June. I was staying at the hotel and popped into the restaurant for a super quick bite between outings. I ordered the veggie sandwich and didn’t have any expectations about it, other than getting my bellied filled asap. But holy cow, it was like the best veggie sandwich ever! Super fresh, crispy veggies on excellent whole wheat bread with a housemade aoili. It could have been very boring, but the obvious attention to quality and freshness resulted in one amazing sandwich. For a restaurant that could do such things with simple veggies on bread, I could only imagine how amazing a dish must be to have earned the name “Million Dollar Chicken”. I had to try it…
 
million-dollar-chicken
 
All I can say is that you MUST make this recipe. Next time you’re having people over for dinner…make this recipe. Next time you want to impress someone with your cooking…make this recipe. Next time you want to eating juicy flavorful chicken…make this recipe. Next time you want to eat the most mind blowing croutons ever on the planet…make this recipe.
 
Ok, you get what I’m saying, right?
 
preparing-million-dollar-chicken
 
The recipe starts simple enough…a nice whole chicken seasoned with salt & pepper, and stuffed with lemon, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Classic, right? Well, things start to get pretty interesting from here. Instead of roasting the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, you’re going to roast it on a few slices of super fresh sourdough bread. That way, as your chicken is roasting, every ounce of those precious drippings gets sucked up into that bread, and the bottom gets all nice and crusty. It’s sort of genius, and super sinful. You’re definitely going to need spend a bit more time in the gym that morning to earn the right to eat this. But I promise, it’s worth it.
 
creme-fraiche-glaze
 
The next layer of flavor comes from a creme fraiche glaze that gets brushed on toward the end of the cooking process. Just to prepare you, you’re going to need aleppo pepper for this glaze, and it’s not necessarily the easiest spice to find. I had to track it down at a specialty herb shop here in town, but, if I had planned ahead better, I could have bought it online . This was my first time cooking with aleppo, and I’m a huge fan. It’s kind of a cross between paprika and red pepper flakes, but without the spice. The saleswoman at the spice shop described it as “raisiny”…at first I thought “say what?”, but…yeah…it’s true. Kinda raisiny.
 
quartering-chicken
 
For serving, I tried to mimic the Standard’s presentation as closely as possible…quarter the chicken, serve in a cast iron pan, garnish with lemons and fresh maiche. What do you think? All I know is that I’m ruined for roasted chicken forever…it’s Million Dollar Chicken or nothing for me!
 

chicken-million-dollar

 
Update: A few readers have expressed discrepancies with the cooking time in this recipe. Not all ovens are created equal. I can’t stress enough the importance of checking your oven temperature and tempering the chicken before cooking.
 
 
(Recipe from  Foodnetwork.com)
 

Million Dollar Chicken

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 pound whole chicken, preferably organic
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • 1 slice sourdough, cut 3/4-inch thick (day old bread is perfect!)
  • Maldon salt
  •  

    For the Creme Fraiche Glaze:

  • 1 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, grated on a fine zester
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper

Directions

  1. The day before you plan to cook the chicken, season it well inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the garlic, 1 of the lemons, the bay leaf and thyme. Refrigerate. (The bird can be trussed with butcher twine if you are so inclined, but it is not necessary.)
  2. On the day/night you plan to cook the bird, take the chicken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you plan to roast it. Preheat the oven to 425 to 450 degrees.
  3. In a pan large enough to accommodate the chicken, oil the pan lightly with olive oil, place the piece of sourdough in the center of the pan and then put the chicken on top of the bread.
  4. Drizzle the bird with olive oil or brush with butter (we use olive oil at the Grill).
  5. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 40 to 50 minutes, basting it every 12 to 15 minutes with the fat and drippings that render from the bird.
  6. While the chicken roasts, assemble the glaze by combining all of the ingredients and whisking them together.
  7. When the chicken is almost done (the juices are running pink and/or the legs are beginning to wiggle a bit when you give them a shake), take a pastry brush and slather on a bit of the creme fraiche glaze. The glaze will begin to caramelize. Brush on another layer and let this last glazing caramelize.
  8. At this point the chicken should be cooked through and nicely golden brown. The sourdough underneath the chicken will be nicely browned and crisped on the side in contact with the pan, and moist and juicy on the side in contact with the chicken. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting it into serving pieces. Cut the sourdough into 2 to 4 pieces and serve with the chicken.
  9. Garnish with lemon wedges and sprinkle it with Maldon salt.

(Alternatively, you can roast the chicken almost entirely through. Let it rest, split it in half and then glaze it with the creme fraiche under the broiler, brushing with the creme fraiche until you achieve golden brown, crackling skin).

 

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Comments

  1. This looks delicious! You’ve given me so many ideas for dinner parties!

    • Melissa says:

      This recipe is super dinner party friendly, since you just pop it in the oven and don’t have to slave over the stove. Your guests will be wowed, for sure!

  2. Mmmmm… I love everything about this! I’ve roasted many a chicken, and it really is the simple touches that make all the difference. The croutons and the glaze are so simple, yet genius!

  3. Lindsay says:

    Do you think this would work without the lemons? I’m allergic..

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Lindsay, you can definitely make this without lemon! The lemon is a nice addition, but it will still taste great without it. If you’re not allergic, you could consider swapping it out with orange just to have some acidity. There are some nice and tart oranges in season right now that could replace the sourness of the lemon. But, again, it’s not totally necessary. Enjoy 🙂

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  5. lisa says:

    I made this dish last week, the only real work was finding all the ingredients (I made the creme fraiche myself). Only change made, I added an onion along with lemon the night before. Both hubby and I loved the meal, chicken was moist and delicious with plenty of drippings from chicken even with the sourdough bread, which was also yummy!
    Thank You!

    • Melissa says:

      So glad to hear that, Lisa! And look at you making your own creme fraiche…I’m so impressed!

  6. I’m famous in my family for making horrible chicken, but this looks like a recipe even I can’t screw up. Perfect for cooler fall evenings.

  7. I don’t have a cast iron skillet like shown. Do you think a large Dutch oven would work? Can’t wait to try this!!

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Amy…that’s no problem at all! The cast iron pan is purely used as the serving vessel, which is how they did it when I watched the show so I was just copying. They didn’t actually cook it in the cast iron. You could use a dutch oven, or I just used a medium size non stick pan (shown on the right side in the second image in the post), and then transferred it to the cast iron after for serving…you know, because it looks all cool and rustic 🙂

  8. katie says:

    this looks amazing, can’t wait to try it. The recipe calls for one slice of sourdough bread but all of the pictures show three slices. I think I would make this in my 6 quart enameled cast iron dutch oven. with three slices of bread would there still be drippings for basting?

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Katie, you’re right! That is confusing. I seem to recall even when I watched the show that the chef used two pieces about the size that I show in the second image on my blog. Not sure why the recipe says only one… Honestly, it’s not a huge deal the specific amount so long as it creates a nice cradle to rest the chicken on. I used three because with the shape of bread I had it seemed to fit nicely under the chicken. You should be fine on dripping amount with the three pieces. With the three pieces I used, there were plenty of drippings to be soaked up. As for basting, you don’t really have to worry about the drippings for basting becuase you baste with the creme fraiche mixture. Hope this helps!

      • Ricki says:

        I totally want to make this dish! It looks amazing. However, I am having trouble finding creme Fraiche. Where did you find it? What does it look like? Thanks for the help.

        • Carolynn says:

          I found creme fraiche at Trader Joe’s today. It’s over by the cheeses.

          • Melissa says:

            Awesome, that’s exactly what I was going to say…check near the fancy cheeses! Glad you found it so easily…enjoy!

        • Allison says:

          You can also make your own by adding 2 tablespoons of buttermilk to a cup of heavy cream in a jar, screw on a lid, shake it up good, and leave it on your counter for 12- 24 hours. It will thicken up to the consistency of greek yogurt.

  9. Jahni says:

    Hello! This sounds delicious. I do have a question though, would you serve this to a toddler? You see, my fiancé cannot have anything spicy.. At all. So would you be able to leave out the peppers and it still be as tasty? Thanks a bunch!

    • Melissa says:

      I didn’t find it to be spicy at all. However, the aleppo that I purchased for this was very mild. I’ve tasted aleppo other times when it can be slightly more spicy (sort of like how red pepper flakes can vary from batch to batch), but I would still call it mild. However, I’m kind of a spice fiend so I may be slightly immune to it. I would say maybe play it safe and omit it altogether. The dish will still taste great without the aleppo, or you could try replacing it with another spice like paprika or cumin, or really go in a whole other direction with thyme perhaps. Enjoy!

  10. Esther says:

    Was the Aleppo pepper flake or ground?

    • Melissa says:

      I would call it ground, but it’s a really coarse grind, not finely ground like a powder. Honestly, you could almost call it a flake as well (but not large flakes…smaller than red pepper flakes, for example). Does that help?

  11. This is an awesome recipe! Ina’s recipe is my go to recipe. But I think this is better! I used Fage Greek yogurt for the creme fraiche. For the Aleppo, I saw a sub for the using Cayenne and Sweet Paprika but I subbed the smoked because that’s what I had.

    I live in the middle of nowhere so sometimes you just have to make substitutions!
    My DH loved it and I’ll definitely make it again. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • traci says:

      I too live in the middle of nowhere, but never heard of FAGE Greek yogurt either?? I am going to try it with light sour cream.. hope it works

  12. Karen says:

    i made this chicken tonight and ran into a small hiccup. Either I should have cooked my chicken at 450 or my lemon was to big and I had too much juice, because my sauce was very thin and runny. So when I brushed my chicken it just ran off which 1. Made my croutons runny and left me with more than half the sauce. It was still very tasty and my husband is not a chicken fan. I will make this again with a smaller lemon to make the sauce thicker. The Aleppo pepper is fantastic, spicy but not too hot. Any thoughts?

  13. I made this tonight for dinner, it was delicious! The Aleppo pepper was spicy without being too hot. I’d did run into a snag however. Either I should have set my oven at 450 or my lemon was too big making my sauce too runny. This made my croutons soggy. After 2 applications of sauce I still had more than half left. Any thoughts?

  14. I made this tonight for dinner, it was delicious! The Aleppo pepper was spicy without being too hot. I’d did run into a snag however. Either I should have set my oven at 450 or my lemon was too big making my sauce too runny. This made my croutons soggy. After 2 applications of sauce I still had more than half left. Any thoughts?

  15. Kelly says:

    Super good I only had Cornish game hens and I cooked it in my cast iron skillet came out amazing thanks for sharing.

  16. Rose says:

    Made this tonight. Thank goodness it wasn’t for company! The cook time was waaayyyyy off for me. So off that I ended up cooking the kids Mac and cheese :-/ it’s still in the oven, hopefully it will be tasty!

  17. Jennifer says:

    Do you roast breast side up or down?

  18. Where did you find the Aleppo pepper? I’ve got a Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Williams Sonoma, and EarthFare as well as all the regulars. And Trader Joe’s!

    • Melissa says:

      The Aleppo was a little tricky to track down! I was surprised that Whole Foods does not carry it. I also saw it online for Williams Sonoma, but called the SF location and they didn’t have it in the store. I managed to finally find it at a specialty spices and teas shop here in SF. I would just call ahead to any specialty food/spice shops in your area to see if they carry it. And if all else fails, you can find it on Amazon. Good luck!

    • Chris says:

      I actually already had Aleppo pepper. I buy mine at Penzey’s spice shop.

  19. Carol says:

    Looks awesome! Do you need to cover with foil when it’s baking?

  20. Barbara Holly says:

    Great recipe. I also made my own creme fraiche (not difficult at all), and found the ingredients, amounts, and cook times spot on.

  21. Sharon says:

    Stopped ar penzeys spice shop and they carry Aleppo pepper,
    So I’m making this tonight!!
    Thanks for the recipe!

  22. What is creme fraiche?

  23. Tiffany says:

    Hi there! This recipe looks amazing do you think it would also work with boneless chicken breast? The SO won’t anything on the bone. 🙁

  24. Nikole H. says:

    Found Aleppo Peeper at Persian market near my house. I live in the South Bay in Los Angeles California. It was only $4. Gonna try this receive this week!

  25. Jillian says:

    I bought a 6 pound chicken because I couldn’t remember what it was supposed to be. Do you know what sort of heat/other parts need to change?

  26. Kelly says:

    Is the bread necessary? I have Celiac and have to be gluten free.

    • Monica says:

      The bread is Not necessary. It helps to get the
      Bottom of the chicken crispy. You can simply
      Turn your chicken around when roasting to evenly
      Crisp the bottom skin.

  27. Donna G says:

    Made this today for company and it was delicious!! I had a 5 pound chicken so I cooked it about 45 minutes at 425 to get it started. Then I started putting on the glaze. I had bought the Aleppo spice but left it at home. I used a mix of Cajun spices and red pepper flakes. There was just a hint of heat which I LOVE! The skin blisters and it looks beautiful. I made some fresh glazes carrots and potatoes and onions baked with the chicken. The bread was crispy and crunchy but soggy on one side. I used 4 slices and cooked it in my iron fry pan.
    Can’t wait to try again and eat my great left overs!

  28. Have you ever used the creme fraiche on a turkey?

  29. FoodieLink says:

    What adjustments would I need to make if I used a 5-6 pound chicken? Thanks!!

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  31. Keri Vitagliano says:

    OK, this was amazing. But I had way too much of the glaze for my 4 lb. chicken.

  32. Martha says:

    I made this last night and apparently made a terrible mistake by “over stuffing” the cavity of my 4 pound chicken. The lemons I had were incredibly large. By the cavity being over stuffed, the chicken did not cook properly. Once I took 2 quarters of the lemon out, the juices just poured out of the chicken and made my sourdough bread soggy. It took over 2 hours for me to get the chicken up to correct temperature because of my mistake. I will make it again……having learned this lesson that hard way. Hopefully this information will keep someone else from making the same mistake!

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  34. Glynda says:

    Okay….stupid question. Do you put the lemon in whole or cut up?

Trackbacks

  1. […] zested and juiced 1 tablespoon shallots, grated on a fine zester 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper     Directions@ Serving Seconds <CLICK HERE […]

  2. […] overpriced restaurants. We’re staying in, having a couple friends over, and I’m making Million Dollar Chicken.   Oh, and it gets even better…because it’s a three day weekend!!  We’re […]

  3. […] the kitchen.My friend Melissa writes Serving Seconds and her recipes are always beyond.  This Million Dollar Chicken looks insane so Melissa, just let me know when you want to come down here to cook.  I will […]

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