Friday, September 25, 2009

Roast Chicken with [Saffron/Herb/Spice], Onions, Parsley, and Mint

Succulent juicy chicken, perfectly flavored, with a clean Spring-y sauce for any season.

I brought back an enormous bag of saffron from the Middle East, and I've been using it liberally in my cooking. If saffron isn't in your pantry or your budget, try pepper flakes, crushed fennel seeds, lemon peel, rosemary . . . experiment!

Tip: My chickens arrive with the neck still attached. Remove the neck, place in a saucepan, heat on high until sizzling (no added fat needed), fill with water, bring to a boil, and simmer while you're doing everything else. Voila, stock! Use as needed in the recipe, and freeze the leftovers for next time.

Time: ~1:15; most of which is not work time.
Serves: 4

1 whole 3-4lb chicken
2 handfuls parsley, coarsely chopped
1 handful mint, coarsely chopped
1 T olive oil
2 T margarine or butter (or more olive oil in a pinch)
1 pinch saffron (or other herb)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
4 cloves garlic, minced
~1 c stock or water
salt and pepper

1) Preheat oven to 500 degrees
2) Mix juice of 1/2 lemon, about 1/2 c herbs (ballpark), 1/2 the garlic, salt, and pepper. Rub all over the chicken, over and under the skin. Place breast side down on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and begin roasting. If you don't have a roasting rack, make a thick ring of tin foil and set the bird on that. The key is to keep it out of its own juices so it doesn't get soggy.
3) In a medium skillet over medium heat, swirl olive oil and margarine. Add onions and saffron cook until onions are softened (~10 minute). Reserve ~2T herbs for garish. Stir in remaining garlic and herbs and ~1/2 c stock. Keep ready on low heat.
4) After 20 minutes, baste chicken with skillet mixture, turn breast side up, and baste again. Roast 8 more minutes and baste again. When breast begins to brown, turn heat down to 325 degrees, baste, and roast until instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh reads 160 degrees. This should take about an hour of total roasting time.
5) Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before carving for maximum juiciness. Garnish with remaining 2T herbs.
6) Remove sauce from heat. Add juice of 1/2 lemon and additional chicken stock as needed. Serve with chicken.
7) Dine and sigh with contentment.

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