Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Garlic and Basil Roast Chicken with Balsamic Sauce

(Balsamic sauce recipe found here.)

I love roast chicken because it's easy to prepare, versatile, and yields delicious results. I usually sprinkle and stuff whatever seasonings I feel like using at the time, but even simply brushing it with olive oil and sprinkling on salt and pepper results in a feast. Last week, I used these seasonings, but feel free to omit or add your own. (Usually I sprinkle on thyme and sage, but I opted for a more straightforward garlic and basil flavor this time.)

One dead and beheaded chicken (a roaster or a broiler/fryer), innards removed
One large onion
About 15 cloves garlic
7-8 carrots
5 medium potatoes
black pepper
olive oil
fresh rosemary
1-2 tsp. basil (or fresh, when in season!)
garlic powder
about one cup chicken broth
8 oz. mushrooms, stems removed

Wash chicken and pat dry. Loosen skin from back and slide about 15 cloves of garlic between the skin and the meat. Brush the chicken with olive oil and rub with a liberal mixture of salt, black pepper, basil, and a dash of garlic powder. Cut large onion into quarters and place two quarters inside the chicken cavity. If you've recently been to Steve and Nicole's wedding and have brought home a table setting of potted rosemary, pluck several sprigs and place inside the chicken cavity, as well. Tie the legs together near the cavity opening and tuck the wings under the body. (I'm skipping elementary chicken roasting directions, so if you've never roasted one before, consult your cookbook for step by step directions.)

Cut carrots into sticks, cut unpeeled potatoes in half or quarters, and chop the remaining half an onion into large wedges. Arrange vegetables around the chicken and pour the chicken broth on top of them, making sure that all are moistened. Sprinkle vegetables liberally with salt and pepper, and shake on some basil, too. In the last 15-20 minutes of roasting, stir in the mushrooms.

Roast in a 375 degree oven for about 1 and 1/2 hours for a four-pound bird, or 20-25 minutes per pound. As it roasts, occasionally baste the vegetables and the bird with the juices. If vegetables begin to brown, loosely tent with foil until the chicken is done. When drumsticks move loosely, chicken is most likely done.

Remove from oven and let sit for about 10-15 minutes before cutting so that the juices will settle and stay inside the chicken. Cut slices to serve and drizzle individual servings with the unbelievably good balsamic sauce (recipe below).

Because they are cooked alongside the chicken, the vegetables may be greasier than your liking, though the chicken grease also helps flavor them. Remove with a slotted spoon and toss on a paper towel to remove some of the oil, or, if you wish, you may roast them in a separate dish at the same time as the chicken.

No comments: