It's a roast chicken guys and it's my first post because it's easy and, vegetarians aside, it's the damn dish everyone wants to perfect, serve, and eat.
I'm Joe. A former journalist turned public relations executive who just likes cooking at home for myself and friends. I'm no one. Honestly. Still, I do have some food cred: I co-founded with my friend Luke the food blog, "The Passion Fruits." And I'm not this Joe. He is, however, my father's cousin.
Oh. Right. Chicken...
My recipe is a cross-bred dog of recipes I've used over the years. It's part Zuni Cafe chicken, part Marcella Hazan, part Alice Waters, part dear friend Clementina Russo, and part Joe. It's largely foolproof because you can season it with whatever the hell you like. I often chop up a whole head of garlic, grab several handfuls of thyme leaves, marjoram, fresh parsley. Slather and shove this garlicky delightfulness all over the bird, underneath the skin, in the cavity... Use whatever seasonings you like. Just a few rules to keep in mind:
1. Make sure it's "really good chicken" -- I hate going THE Ina Garten route here with this advice but she's right. Get a quality bird.
2. Season it with salt and pepper 1-3 days in advance of cooking -- this is a tip from the Zuni Cafe kitchen, long-known in San Francisco for their amazing roast chicken. It extracts moisture from the bird and then reabsorbs it, making for chicken that is plump and moist. A tiny fistful of salt, a smaller handful of ground black pepper will suffice when seasoning a 3 to 4 pound bird. Be certain to season the cavity.
3. "Uh, Lemon..." -- Marcella, thank you! Take a whole lemon, prong it 20 times with a fork and shove it into the cavity of the bird. Do this and magic happens.
4. Waters Waters Everywhere! Here's Alice Waters' technique -- Cook the bird in a small roasting pan at 400 degrees 20 minutes breast side up, 20 minutes breast side down, 20 minutes breast side back up. It is done when you slash the legs and the juices runneth cleareth.
5. When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan let it rest on a cutting board. Place the pan on a medium-lit burner. Take three bunches of your favorite greens (kale, escarole, collards) wash, chop up and saute them in the pan you roasted the chicken in. A pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper. Be certain to scrape up all the browned goodness from the pan as you saute the greens.
6. Place the greens on platter, cut the chicken up, and place atop the greens. Serve.
And this meal is done. Share with me your seasonings and favorite greens!
- 1 3-4 pound chicken
- 1 head of garlic
- Several handfuls of herbs (whatever you like)
- 1 lemon, pronged 20 times with a fork
- 3 bunches of dark, leafy greens (Lacinato kale, collard greens) roughly cut.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper 1-3 days in advance of cooking. Cover loosely and refrigerate;
- One hour before cooking, remove from the fridge. Let the chicken come to room temperature. Season with garlic, herbs, and lemon. Place chicken breast side up in a roasting pan with olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roast for 20 minutes. Turn breast side down, and cook for another 20 minutes. Then back breast side up and roast until done, about 20 minutes more. Let it rest on a cutting board for 10-20 minutes.
- Five minutes before you are ready to cut the chicken, saute the greens on a medium-lit burner in the roasting pan.
- Greens, when still bright green, go onto a platter. Cut the chicken up and mound it on top of the greens. Eat
Follow Joe on Twitter at @CacciatoreCrea
Photos: Nathan Lavoie