Bon Appétit (March 2014)
Let us tell you a story that we love:
We're lucky enough to be able to walk to work (our offices are just a few blocks from each other). But some days -- super cold, terribly rainy, running insanely behind for a meeting -- we take the bus.
You know it's going to be a good day on our bus line when the bus pulls up and Operator Perry is driving. You see, Operator Perry loves his job -- you can tell by the way he chats up the riders, and makes announcements ("It's 8:42 in the morning and you are going to be right on time for work!") and shouts words encouragement ("It is going to be a great day").
But here's our favorite thing he says, just before the reaches the end of the line:
"If nobody told you they love you this morning, just remember, Operator Perry loves you!"
It's enough to make us tear up. This expression of kindness and positivity in the mornings makes us feel loved.
You know what else makes us feel loved? Roast chicken. Seriously. The dish screams "home" to us -- cool weather, Sunday nights, a house that smells of herbs. Our dream: coming home from a bad day at the office to an Ina Garten roast chicken. (Her husband Jeffrey -- who gets to do this with some regularity -- may be the luckiest man in America).
We think you're hard-pressed to do better than this Herbed Faux-tisserie Chicken.
This chicken has the distinction of generating the most emails to us of any recipe in years. Several Bitten Word readers -- including Graham, Whitney and others -- emailed to say that they had made it and loved it. As Graham said, this chicken must be blogged!
So we got right on it.
We have a love/hate relationship with store-bought rotisserie chickens. They're certainly convenient, but sometimes we find them too greasy. So we kept our expecations in check as we prepared this chicken. But a recipe like this, that cooks slowly, sort of builds expectations the longer it's in the oven. And we do mean slowly -- this chicken takes three hours in the oven.
It's a perfect Sunday afternoon project: The chicken goes in, you take care of a few things around the house, everything smells amazing, and then when it's time for dinner, the chicken is ready to eat.
The chicken, smothered in herbs and its own juices after three hours of slow cooking, is insanely tender and flavorful. And the roasted potatoes that cook alongside the chicken in the pan are just killer.
Tell someone you love them.
And make this roast chicken for them, too.
Herbed Faux-tisserie Chicken and Potatoes
Bon Appétit (March 2014), recipe by Carla Lalli Music
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Nutritional information available at BonAppetit.com
NOTES FROM ZACH AND CLAY:
- We couldn't get our hands on marjoram so we used oregano in its place and thought it worked very well.
- In the final hour of cooking this chicken, we suggest you check the temperature to see how the chicken is doing. We found our chicken was up to temperature well before the three hours were up.
- We made this with sweet potatoes rather than white potatoes and thought they were awesome.
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh marjoram; plus 4 sprigs, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme; plus 4 sprigs, divided
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 3½–4 pound chicken
1 lemon, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, halved, or quartered if large
Preheat oven to 300°. Coarsely grind fennel seeds and red pepper flakes in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle. Combine spice mixture, chopped marjoram, chopped thyme, 1 Tbsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, and 3 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl. Rub chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Stuff chicken with lemon, garlic, 2 marjoram sprigs, and 2 thyme sprigs. Tie legs together with kitchen twine.
Toss potatoes with remaining 3 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Push potatoes to edges of baking sheet and scatter remaining 2 marjoram and 2 thyme sprigs in center; place chicken on herbs. Roast, turning potatoes and basting chicken every hour, until skin is browned, meat is extremely tender, and potatoes are golden brown and very soft, about 3 hours. Let chicken rest at least 10 minutes before carving.