With Thanksgiving behind us (how quickly it goes, after all that prep), and the leftovers now completely consumed, it’s time to resume cooking as usual. One of my favorite meals, no matter what day of week or time of year, is a roast chicken – so much flavor for so little effort!
My new favorite New York Times cooking website had a recipe I tried several weeks ago using chicken parts, but I’ve since made it again twice with a whole butterflied Bell & Evans chicken. Our local health foods store carries the B&E chickens wrapped in cryovac for $2.89/lb, and up until today, that was without a packet of gizzards within. I was surprised to find the gizzards today when I went to rinse and split the chicken open. No harm – still a better deal than Whole Foods, and when they sell them frozen, they’re always $2 or $3 off. But today, I purchased a fresh bird for dinner and frozen thighs, both on the bone and boneless, for future dinners.
Roasting a chicken in its butterflied state is my preferred way of cooking this bird, and in the summer we often do it on the grill ‘under a brick’. With backbone removed and breastbone slightly cut or pressed to help it lie flat in your roasting pan, it cooks evenly in 50-60 minutes at 400. Season it as you like, surround it with aromatic vegetables and maybe add seasoned cut potatoes halfway through, and you have a meal to be proud of. Here’s what we’re having tonight and, sorry – no photo of my dish. As soon as I took it out of the oven and cut it into serving pieces, my family pounced on it! But here’s a view of how it looked on the NYT site:
BUTTERFLIED ROAST CHICKEN PROVENCAL
2+ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Bell & Evans roasting chicken, 4-4-1/2 lbs., butterflied
8 very plump peeled garlic cloves
1/2 – 3/4 cup flour
2 very large shallots peeled and quartered, (or 4 smaller ones halved) stem end intact to keep the pieces together
1 lemon quartered
2-3 tbsp herbes de Provence
Flour for dredging
2/3 cup dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat is the best, in my opinion)
8 smallish red-skin potatoes halved and tossed with olive oil, S&P, a bit of paprika and some of the herbes de provence
Preheat oven to 400 and brush 3 tbsp olive oil around a roasting pan large enough to hold everything in one layer (I use a French enameled cast iron pan for this). Season the chicken with S&P, dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Place the chicken skin side up in roasting pan and sprinkle generously with 2 tbsp of the herbes de provence. Scatter the garlic, shallots, and quartered lemon around it, and pour 1/3 cup of the vermouth into the pan.
Roast for 25-30 minutes. Then flip the chicken over and back again, thus effectively basting the skin side. Add the potatoes to the pan, add the rest of the vermouth…or more if you like – and continue roasting another 25-30 minutes until skin is browned and crisp and potatoes are fork-tender.