It always seemed to me that there could be nothing more wonderful than a roasted chicken dish that would be appropriate for a range of settings: an informal dinner for the family or a nicer; although not formal, dinner for guests, ranging from close friends to those I might not know well. As a result, I have become completely fanatical about this recipe. I have tried different cooking temperatures, different vegetables and even different kinds of chicken, from whole to cut-up pieces. I like this version. Paired with the broccoli rabe and orzo, this makes an easy and comforting dinner.
The amount of vegetables and fruit may look huge, but I have never served this and ended up with anything other than leftover chicken. Vary the vegetables to your taste. Almost any root vegetable will do, though sweet potatoes, turnips, rutabagas and celery root are particularly good.
Cut the vegetables and apples for the chicken and place in a large mixing bowl with the oil in tile afternoon. Cook the orzo and broccoli rabe in the afternoon but do not combine them.
Assemble but do not bake the bread pudding. Bake it while you are eating the chicken.
You need a huge roasting pan, probably the one you only pull out at Thanksgiving. I like to serve this right out of the pan.
If you want to use bone-in skin-on chicken breasts only in-stead of the whole chicken, place the chicken and vegetables together in the roasting pan and cook for 45 minutes instead of 1 hour.
2 whole roaster chickens, about 5-6 pounds each,
giblets and neck removed
1/4 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled
12 shallots, peeled (or 3 Spanish onions, quartered)
6-8 carrots, peeled, if desired, and cut into chunks
2 Idaho potatoes, unpeeled and cut into chunks
3 ripe pears or apples (any kind will do),
peeled, if desired, and diced
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded
and cut into 1-inch cubes
1-1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Rinse the chickens in several changes of cold water and pat dry.
Place the oil, garlic, shallots, carrots, potatoes, pears or apples and butternut squash in a large mixing bowl and toss well.
Place the sage and salt in a small mixing bowl and mix to combine. Rub half into the chicken flesh, skin and cavity and sprinkle the other half on the vegetables.
Place the chicken on a roasting rack in a large roasting pan and surround it with the vegetables. Transfer to the oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees or the juices run clear from the breast and the leg moves easily about 1 hour (about 10 minutes per pound). Serve immediately.
The $50 Dollar Dinner Party
By Sally Sampson
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
Recipes: Menu Six
This page created January 1999
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