Holiday cooking can seem daunting, but The Eddy’s Executive Chef and Owner Brendan McHale tears back the curtain and shares his tried and true chicken recipe fit for a gathering.
By Annelise McAuliffe
New York City has an armful of delicious restaurants with hardworking chefs and talented bartenders, but The Eddy is different. It’s small dining room, casual atmosphere, and intimate service makes it a neighborhood favorite. Without unnecessary flair, the Bowery area restaurant creates smart plates that will make your mouth water. If you have been disappointed by over-hyped new, trendy restaurants as of late, head to The Eddy for a consistently delicious change of pace.
Along with sharing his tried and true chicken recipe, we spoke with Executive Chef Brendan McHale about what holiday cooking looks like for a chef. Even though his day job includes cooking, the holidays aren’t a break for Brendan. He volunteers to cook for his family dinners and we are pretty jealous.
In the restaurant and at home, he likes to reinterpret classic, comforting dishes with new spices or ingredients rather than shoving totally out-of-the-box creations down his eaters throats. Although he does admit to pushing his family’s boundaries by adding rabbit or pheasant to the holiday menu where you might usually see ham or turkey. His favorite dish to add to the Thanksgiving table is a fresh potato gnocchi. Not only is it a great way to involve his nephews in the cooking process as they embark on a gnocchi rolling competition, but it is a deliciously simple dish to add to the comforting theme of the holiday.
How does The Eddy do Thanksgiving? In superb style of course. Chef Brendan is especially excited to debut their new dessert based on the classic Southern apple pie. Served with cheddar cheese, the sweet and savory dessert is made up of apples braised on the plancha and topped with a maple milk foam. This is what The Eddy does perfectly. Reinvented classic flavors or foods we all know and love.
Cooking for a roomful of expectant guests can be terrifying. Cooking chicken however, is generally not. Chef Brendan makes things even easier with his recipe sealed in puff pastry dough so the bird doesn’t dry out and all the flavor stays on the meat. Give it a try!
“The Poulet au Pain is a great way to avoid a dry bird – you’re sealing in flavor. You’ve got the nice aroma of the herbs and this crisp shell that soaks up all the chicken juices. At the end, it tastes like a whole roasted chicken pot pie.”
- One 3- to 4-pound chicken, rinsed and patted dry
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- 1 pound unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- ¾ cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- Rub chicken all over with 2 tablespoons of the kosher salt before wrapping with plastic wrap and refrigerating for 6 to 8 hours.
- The Dough: In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and remaining salt. Add in the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal (butter pieces no larger than a small pea). Transfer flour mixture to a bowl, add the water and continue to mix until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a 1-inch-thick circle. Enclose in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days; if chilling the dough for more than 30 minutes, let it sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling).
- Meanwhile, set the chicken on a cutting board and, using kitchen twine, tie the bases of the drumsticks together, slightly crossing one drumstick over the other. Tuck the wings behind the back and set the chicken aside.
- Roll out the dough to a diameter of 8 inches, sprinkle evenly with the sage and thyme and then fold into thirds (like a letter). Roll the dough into a 14-inch square about ¼-inch thick. Cut the corners out of the dough (roughly a 3-inch square out of each corner) so that it resembles a cross (reserve dough scraps for another use). Place the chicken, breast side down, in the center of the cross. One at a time, fold the dough flaps over the chicken, brushing the edges of the dough with the beaten egg to seal, to enclose the chicken in the dough. Transfer the chicken, breast side up, to a parchment paper-lined sheet tray. Using your hands, mold the dough to the form of the chicken. Brush the rest of the dough with the remaining beaten egg and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Roast the chicken, rotating the pan occasionally, until the dough is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh joint (through the dough) registers 175°, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Mandatory family outings to the Detroit farmers' market and nightly home-cooked meals cultivated Annelise's respect and curiosity for food. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, she spends her free time in New York City recipe testing, eating breakfast all day, and dreaming up international culinary adventures.