Carole’s Roast Chicken

This is a food blog, not a disease blog, but of course the rumors all over about bird flu are making me nervous. I don’t know about you, but I deal with anxiety by cooking. So much cooking. But, I’m trying to stick to that New Year’s resolution to share four healthy recipes (entrées, salads, sides . . . ) for every dessert recipe I post, and I just wrote about those lemon meringue bars last week. So even though I dealt with my anxiety yesterday by baking another batch of those bars, and possibly by eating half of them in one sitting, I am not going to bake that new recipe I found for pecan bars today. No! Instead, I’m going to make my friend Carole’s amazing roast chicken. Because how better to deal with fears of bird flu than by eating a bird, am I right?

Here’s how you can make it yourself. You’ll need a chicken, first of all. Carole cuts it up herself but I’m lazy, so I buy a cut-up chicken at the store. You’ll need at least two pounds of potatoes. You’ll need a lemon and a garlic bulb. You’ll need a big wide roasting pan. I use a Cuisinart heavy-duty lasagna pan, but you can get by with a 13×9 cake pan.

Cut up the potatoes into little cubes (use good potatoes! The yellow ones or maybe the red ones. In the summer I buy them at the Farmer’s Market.) Spray your pan with some cooking spray and toss in the potatoes. Peel all the garlic (really, all of it!) and scatter the whole cloves all through with the potatoes. If you’re thinking, “all that garlic?” just trust me on this. Roasted garlic gets all mild and melty and you can eat it like the potato chunks. Really. You’ll thank me later. Finally, lay out the chicken on top, skin-down. You’ll turn it halfway through cooking. Shake some oregano over all the meat and also some sea salt and a few twists of pepper.

Squeeze the lemon, or maybe even two lemons if you really like lemon, and mix it in with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Pour that over everything and use your hands to mix it in, make sure it’s all over the chicken and the potatoes. Then pour just a tiny bit of water down the side of the pan—you don’t want to get it on the chicken—so the potatoes don’t burn and stick. Pop it into a 425-degree oven and roast for an hour. Flip your chicken a half hour in so the skin gets nice and crispy.

Guys, it is SO GOOD. Half the time I swear Dominic doesn’t even notice what he’s eating, but he always likes this dish, and so do I. If you make this much for two people, you’ll have leftovers for lunch. But we’re having guests over tonight, my brother and his wife and kids. So, I’m actually using two chickens and four pounds of potatoes, because teenagers eat a lot.

And chicken has magical healing properties if you make it into soup, so surely some of them stick around when you roast it? And so does garlic, so eat some and stay healthy.

xxoo, Natalie


Issue 110 – November 2015

8410 words, novelette

by Naomi Kritzer