Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Winter, Winter Chicken Dinner

With welcome time on my hands between Christmas and New Year's, I decided to fill a hole in my culinary repertoire: the roast chicken. Its a surprisingly easy and flavorful weeknight dinner. Not to mention pretty foolproof. To make it even simpler, add cut carrots, potatoes and onions to roasting pan and serve instead of panzanella. The skin on my chicken turned out particularly savory and crispy (if I do say so myself) which I attribute to using homemade butter.

Simple Roast Chicken
Serves 4

1 5-6 lb. organic roasting chicken
kosher salt and ground pepper
1 lemon halved
1 head garlic cut in half crossways
4 tablespoons butter
bunch of fresh thyme

Vinegary Panzanella

3/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 large spanish onion, diced
1 loaf of ciabatta bread, halved as if for a gigantic hogie
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove gizzards from chicken cavity and snip off neck fat with kitchen shears. Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Liberally salt and pepper cavity. Stuff cavity with lemon halves, garlic and as much thyme as you can fit. Tuck wings under chicken body and tie together legs with kitchen twine.

3. Rub butter over chicken, salt and pepper liberally and place on a roasting pan. Roast in oven for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.

4. Remove chicken from oven and place on cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil and let sit for approximately 15 more minutes.

5. While chicken sits, saute onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent. Remove onions to a large bowl. Then toast bread in pan. Once bread is toasted, cut into chunks and toss with onions, parley and rest of olive oil and vinegar.

6. Carve chicken and serve on top of panzanella.

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