The best parts of a roast chicken are the juices, fond and butter which mingle together in the bottom of the roasting dish, blended with browned chicken fat and infused with garlic. If all the flavor is there, why do we bother eating the chicken? Sure we could make a pan sauce and we have. Though the tastiest bites are those bits of crusty bread pulled through the juices and fat and quickly consumed in the kitchen with the aroma of roast chicken wafting through the air.
We have worked with flavored butters: truffle, miso, yuzu, smoked, mustard, the list goes on and on. Why have we not tried capturing the flavor of the roast chicken butter and serving it with bread? For that matter why do we not rub roast chicken butter under the skin of a chicken to be roasted? A ragout of ranch gnocchi glazed in roast chicken butter gets to the essence of tasty eating.
In order to stop leaving the deliciousness in the pan we set about making roast chicken butter. The initial goal was to serve the butter as we would with bread service, though as we started the process of making roast chicken butter we realized that using it in just one spot would be selling ourselves short.
To make roast chicken butter we needed to capture the flavor of roast chicken skin blended with caramelized butter and infused with roasted garlic. In order to increase the surface area of available skin we started with wings. We seasoned the wings with salt and smoked black pepper. Then we added butter and whole garlic cloves to the pan. When everything was combined we placed the roasting pan in the oven. In less than an hour we had a pan of beautifully roasted chicken wings and the entire house was perfumed with roast chicken. We allowed the chicken wings to cool in the butter, allowing any juices to transfer to the butter. We removed the cooled wings from the pan and poured the butter and juices into a Pacojet canister. I then peeled the browned chicken skin from the wings and added it to the butter. The whole garlic cloves, which infused the butter with the notes of sweet allium, were tender and beckoned to be squeezed into the butter. That was it. Almost. When the butter was cold we processed it in the Pacojet and the result is a concentrated, creamy, emulsified expression of the buttery pan drippings, which we have happily indulged in, standing up in the kitchen, slathered on warm bread and sprinkled with a bit of coarse salt. Now we are able to share this simple cook's pleasure with everyone. It is beyond delicious.
The wings themselves did not go to waste. I picked the meat to make a Russian Dressing chicken salad. Since I am not a proffesional chicken picker, the wings had a fair amount of goodness left on them. These flavor specked bones soon became a quick roast chicken stock, thanks to a brief amount of time spent in the pressure cooker. The chicken salad was lunch. The stock, well, we're still not quite sure where we will take it. That will be a project for tomorrow.