It’s such a total and complete cliché to say that the simple dishes are often the best. But boy, is it true. Simple tomatoes, fresh or roasted, with a ball of runny burrata, a perfect seared lamb chop, pasta cacio e pepe, the most ornate dishes in the world don’t really hold a candle to a homey dish, cleanly executed.
Roast Chicken = Comfort Food
Roast chicken is the poster child for this kind of straightforward comfort food. And while it’s certainly unproblematic to avail yourself of a pre-roasted chicken from a supermarket, it’s easy and very pleasurable to make it yourself. And you’ll be rewarded with the rich smell of roasting chicken, and the satisfaction of knowing that this bird is all you. In a perfect world, no one would graduate high school without knowing how to roast a chicken.
Once you start roasting your own chickens you’ll probably make a habit of it. That’s because it’s just so EASY. And there’s the reward reward of a juicy bird with tender white meat, succulent dark meat, and a crispy skin. Whenever you are roasting a chicken, think about roasting a second. You’ll be able to use the leftovers in different dishes (or just enjoy them as is) all week long.
You can season the chicken in any number of ways. There’s never anything wrong with just salt and pepper, but roast chickens take to all kinds of flavorings from Mediterranean to Asian to Indian to Middle Eastern, you name it. It’s a great way to explore some of those condiments and/or spices that haven’t been put to good use in your kitchen.
Roasted Garlic Cloves
When you roast garlic cloves in their skin they turn soft and mellow in flavor. They are wonderful squeezed out of their paper skins onto toast, bread, of slices of the chicken. Extra cloves can be added to soups, stews, chilis, sauces and salad dressings. You don’t have to wait to make this recipe to have it on hand, you can just roast a couple of heads and use them at will.
What to Serve with Garlicky Roast Chicken with Shallots and Potatoes:
- Green Beans and Mushrooms with Shallots
- Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette
- Sauteed Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- Best Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
- Sauteed and Braised Cauliflower with Mustard Seeds and Green Peppercorns
Garlicky Roast Chicken with Shallots and Potatoes
- 2 heads garlic plus 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 10 shallots peeled
- 1 pound tiny potatoes about 1-inch in diameter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter softened
- 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 whole chicken 3 ½ to 4 pounds, rinsed and patted dry (remove any giblets and save for another use)
- 1 lemon halved
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Separate the garlic cloves, but do not peel them. In a large bowl combine the garlic, shallots, and potatoes. Drizzle over the olive oil and toss to combine.
- Combine 2 tablespoons of the butter, garlic, and rosemary in a small bowl. Carefully loosen the skin of the chicken over the breast area and use your hand to work the butter mixture under the skin and over the meat. Place the lemon halves into the cavity of the chicken. Rub the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter over the skin of the chicken, and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Distribute the potatoes, shallots and garlic around the chicken. Roast for about 50 to 60 minutes, until the skin is browned and crispy and an instant read thermometer registers between 165° F when inserted into the meaty part of the thigh, not touching the bone. Or, when you make a small cut in the thigh, the juices should run clear, not pink.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes so that they juices settle in the meat. Carve the chicken (discard the lemon inside the chicken), then arrange on a serving platter surrounded by the roasted garlic and shallots and serve hot, warm, or room temperature. The roasted garlic cloves will be soft and mellow in flavor. They are wonderful squeezed out of their paper skins onto toast, bread, or slices of the chicken.
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