One Chicken, Two Ways

Mmm chicken dinner…

Is there anything more satisfying than a roast chicken for dinner?  And nothing could be simpler to make on a busy day.  It needs time in the oven, but there’s very little prep work, and huge flavor payoff.

Today I am offering two recipes for roast chicken, one for the adventurous types, and another for those of us who take comfort in the familiar.  It’s like yin and yang…  They are both bangin’!  Your families will love….!

This first recipe is delicious, in an exciting, exotic, and out-of-the-ordinary way.  And it’s so simple to prepare!

Transport Yourself to a Faraway Place
serves 4-6

1 four-pound whole chicken
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
zest of half a lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
about 1 inch fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place all the ingredients, except for the chicken, into a small bowl…

…and stir to combine.

Remove the plastic baggie of giblets from the cavity of the chicken.  If you are a nice pet-owner, saute it all up and give it to your pooch.

Place the chicken on a roasting rack (over a sheet pan or roasting pan), breast side up.  Fold the wing tips behind the chicken’s back so they don’t burn.  (If you want, you can tie the ankles together tightly.  It helps the chicken to cook evenly, but it’s not absolutely necessary, so don’t panic if you don’t have kitchen string.)

Smear the yogurt-spice paste all over the bird, inside and out.

Whack the whole thing into the hot oven for an hour to an hour and a half, or until a probe thermomether registers 165 degrees.  If you don’t have a thermometer, and you aren’t sure if it’s done, just cut a little slit in the thickest part of the thigh.  Peek inside.  It should not look pink.  The juice should be clear, too.

When it’s fully cooked, take it out of the oven and leave it to rest for 15-20 minutes.  Don’t worry, it won’t get cold.  It’s big and it will hold the heat for a good while.  Resist the urge to cut into it too soon, because if you do, all that flavorful juice will run right out of the meat.

While your chicken is having it’s rest, toast up a few slivered almonds.  Prepare some couscous.  Fold in the almonds along with a handful of raisins or dried cranberries.

Slice a cucumber thinly, and a red onion too.  Put them together in a little serving dish with some fresh mint.  Squeeze on some lemon juice.

Remove the rested chicken to a big cutting board.  Carve off the breasts and slice them thickly.  Remove the legs and wings as well.  Nest the carved chicken into the couscous on a big platter and dribble the pan juices on top.

The yogurt creates a beautiful brown, crisp skin that is so delicious.  And the tangy lemon and fragrant spices are so exotic and complex…

…enjoy your trip!

Just like your Nonna made
serves 4-6

1 four-pound whole chicken
1 lemon
1 onion
1 head of garlic
1 sprig of fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, or sage
salt & pepper to taste
2 large russet potatoes

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Prep the chicken same as above: remove the giblets, tuck the wing tips behind the back of the bird, and tie the ankles together with kitchen string.

Slice up the onion into thick rounds.  Place them on the bottom of a heavy baking dish or roasting pan.

Place the chicken on top, breast side up.   Hack up the lemon into quarters.  Stuff them into the cavity of the bird, along with the garlic (no need to peel it), and the herbs (no need to chop or de-stem).

Cut the potatoes into hunks and scatter them all around the bird.  Sprinkle everything liberally with salt and pepper.  Don’t be afraid to really get it on there, it’s a big bird, it needs it.  Make sure you get the potatoes too, they need a good seasoning.

Roast the chicken same as above, one hour to an hour and a half, internal temperature 165 degrees, thigh meat no longer pink and juices clear.  Rest for 15-20 minutes.

While your chicken is resting, put some fresh greens in a big bowl and drizzle on some good olive oil and a squirt of lemon.  Warm up some crusty bread too.  Maybe even crack a nice bottle of wine.  An oaky chardonnay or a juicy pinot noir would be perfect.  You’re about to get really comfortable.

Carve the chicken, same as above: remove the breasts and slice them thickly.  Remove the legs and the wings.  Take the garlic out of the cavity (pop the cloves out of their paper and smear on some crusty bread) and put everything back into the roasting pan with all the sweet and soft onions and the roasty browned potatoes, and all the lemony-herby-garlicky-chickeny juices.

…welcome home….

Click here for the printable 4×6 recipe cards:
Roast Chicken a la Faraway Place Recipe Card
Roast Chicken a la Nonna Recipe Card


2 thoughts on “One Chicken, Two Ways

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