Monday, September 3, 2007

Cold Comfort Farm

Herb roasted chicken with roasted potatoes is quite possibly my favorite fall meal. Simple, hearty, and extremely versatile. This requires very little preparation, but tastes like a five-star meal. The potatoes are at once lush and crisp and meltingly good. A glass of pinot gris or sauvignon blanc, and dessert of apple crisp can round out the meal for company. Or you can just lock yourself in the dining room and eat it all yourself. Not that I'm condoning such a thing, but still. You could. It's that good.

Herb Roasted Chicken with Potatoes
1 whole chicken (about 4 lb), rinsed, patted dry, and butterflied (cut the backbone so you can lay the chicken flat. This will ensure crispy skin throughout.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 tsp ground black pepper, more to taste, divided
various fresh herbs, several sprigs of each. I use whatever looks good from the kitchen garden; usually parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (much like the song.)
1 head of garlic, individual cloves peeled (I smash them with my chefs knife to peel them quickly.)
6-8 Yukon Gold potatoes
1 large sweet onion

Season the chicken with 1 tsp salt and half a teaspoon of ground black pepper. Stuff the herbs and half of the garlic cloves under the skin of the chicken. Slice the potatoes and the onion into 1/2 inch slices. In a bowl or a Ziploc bag, toss the potatoes, onions, and remaining garlic with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Place in refrigerator to marinate. Rub the remaining olive oil onto the chicken, place in a separate bowl or bag, and allow to marinate for about 2 hours in the refrigerator. About 2 hours prior to the time you would like to serve dinner, preheat the oven.

Preheat oven to 400*F. Place the potato mixture in the bottom of a roasting pan. Attempt to get them all in a single layer. Sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper. Place a roasting rack in the pan on top of the potatoes. Lay the chicken on the rack, breast side up (see photo.) Roast for about an hour to an hour and a half, or until a meat thermometer registers 170*F in the thigh (do not touch a bone when you measure the temperature.) Remove from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for about 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter and scoop up the potato loveliness into a bowl. Allow your family and friends to think that you are a domestic wunderkind, mostly because you are.

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