Nothing speaks to me more of home than the smell of a crispy, herby chicken roasting in the oven. I do not make them frequently enough because though I love them so, they never come out quite right. Let's face it, I have chicken issues.
On so many occasions, the chickens, though lovely and burnished on the outside, came out slightly underdone in the leg area. Most of these unhappy experiences occurred in my New York apartment where I had a most peculiar oven (ooh, what a great post that will make someday) in which most things took far longer to cook than the recipe suggested. Chickens suffered the most in that oven and what should have been just an ordinary part of my cooking repertoire, was relegated to the special occasion category.
Admittedly I had become slightly chicken-shy. Then I had the great fortune of encountering A Chicken In Every Granny Cart. There Ann describes a nearly fool-proof method for a perfect roast chicken. I have tried the recipe three times now and I what I have learned is that it can be tinkered with to suit your taste, with the same fabulous results. You can flavor the chicken with your favorite herbs, douse it with the booze you prefer, and add the vegetables of your choice. You don't need the butter either and you still get a crisp, moist bird. The best part? This bird is self-basting so you can forget about it for an hour and go about your business.
So tonight, after an afternoon of ice skating, Izzy and I returned home to prepare a quick chicken dinner. All I did was stuff the bird with rosemary,thyme, sliced shallots, garlic, salt and pepper and place it on a bed of shallots. I doused it with a bit of Lillet and some olive oil and into the oven it went. While it roasted, I peeled some sweet potatoes for braised sweet potatoes with rosemary and butter and then whipped up some creamed spinach. I had dinner on the table in 1 1/2 hours and I also managed to read some of the newspaper. Not bad for a Sunday dinner and hopefully this third chicken will mark the end of my chicken issues forever!