Rustic Japanese-Style Roast Chicken

Tori no Maru Miso Yaki

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

An American Taste of Japan

An American Taste of Japan

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1985

  • About

If you hear a Japanese say he has eaten meat at a meal, he’s probably referring to a dish that contained no more than 2–3 ounces of poultry. Chicken is the most popular meat in Japan, and it’s sold ground like hamburger meat (this is the cheapest and most common form), in parts (fillet strips are considered the greatest delicacy), and whole (for those who have home ovens in which to roast the bird). This recipe combines a cooking technique relatively new to the Japanese—oven roasting—with more traditional seasoning: the fermented bean paste called miso. It’s a positively winning combination, particularly when served with plain rice, or crusty rolls to soak up the delicious gravy.


  • -pound roasting chicken
  • 2 tablespoons chicken fat (rendered as described below)
  • 1 cup julienned root vegetables (carrot, parsnip, and fresh burdock root [gobō] are recommended)
  • 2 tablespoons saké (Japanese rice wine)

Neri Miso (Glossy Bean-Paste Sauce)

  • cup aka miso (dark fermented bean paste)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons saké (Japanese rice wine)


Remove the lump of fat from the neck and breast of the chicken and place it in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Turn the lump of fat several times as it melts. Render 1 tablespoon of fat to use later (pour this off and set it aside), then render another tablespoon of fat in the skillet before discarding whatever remains of the original lump.

Sauté the vegetables in the skillet with the fat, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons of rice wine, lower the heat slightly, and continue to simmer for 2 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine the ingredients for the neri miso sauce. Stir together well before placing the saucepan over medium heat and cooking for 1 minute or until bubbly, glossy, and smooth. Set the sauce aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of the neri miso sauce to the simmering vegetables and cook them for 1 more minute or until nearly all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside the vegetables with whatever sauce remains in the skillet and allow the vegetables to cool slightly.

Set the oven for 475 degrees. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, with fresh cold water and pat dry on paper towels. Blot up any liquid from the chicken’s cavity before stuffing it with the vegetables. Either truss the bird’s legs to keep the stuffing from falling out, or stitch the opening closed.

Lay the stuffed chicken on its side on a rack set in a roasting pan. Brush the top surfaces of the chicken with some of the reserved rendered chicken fat and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken to expose its other side, brush it, and roast for another 20 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees, rearrange the chicken breast up, and brush all exposed surfaces with some of the neri miso sauce. Roast for 10 minutes. Brush all surfaces with more sauce or pan drippings, and continue to roast for a final 10 minutes. Remove the bird from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Pour off the pan juices and remove the fat from them. (Quick chilling in the freezer followed by spooning off solidified fat is one method; there are newly designed cups with spouts to pour off sauce below liquid fat, too.) Mix whatever remains of the neri miso sauce into the de-fatted pan juices and stir cup of water into this mixture to make a fairly thick gravy. Taste, and add a few more drops of water if the gravy seems too intense for you. Heat the gravy just before serving.

Remove the vegetables from the chicken before slicing the bird. Arrange all on a heated serving platter and serve with gravy on the side.