So I recently tried a "72 hour fried chicken" and assumed it meant the chicken had been brined in something yummy for 72 hours. But then I overheard someone say it meant the chicken was alive 72 hours prior to making it to my plate. This has nothing to do with today's post, by the way. I'm not sure how long ago my particular bird was struttin' around the pen before I picked her up. Sooo... you know.
This is a gratuitous shot of the author holding a bouquet of herbs at the photographer's request, despite the photographer knowing the author's dislike of her photographic image.
And this is a gratuitous shot of the garlic that said author can't seem to get enough of and the photographer continues to humor her by photographing ad nauseum.
It's taken some getting used to sticking my hand in a bird cavity (and also even typing "cavity" - it's sort of up there with "moist"). I have to scrub my hands extra well afterwards just to get rid of that feeling, or I (ideally) try to force it on Alistair.
I like to stuff the bird with 2 lemon halves and as much thyme and rosemary as I can fit in it. Then it gets a nice rub down with garlic infused olive oil - both inside and out - and a final layer of sea salt and peppercorns.
I had to cover up the front bits with sweet potatoes - chicken necks give me the heebie jeebies. The potatoes also get the olive oil, salt and pepper treatment with the addition of nice, fat garlic cloves tossed around the pan.
And here's my little beauty after she's had her little roasting time. It's a sadly naked photo due to my inability to time my food shoot with the dinner party I was having that night. The bird was a few pounds larger than I was used to, and I didn't time it right to both shoot it and then quickly get it on the table. Also, in my rush to get it all done, I forgot to bring the previously made Yorkshire Pudding batter out of the fridge. First lesson learned: cold batter does not rise so well. Second lesson learned: don't schedule photo shoots and dinner parties on the same day.
WHAT TO BUY
Whole chicken 1 lemon Bunch of fresh thyme and rosemary 2-4 tbsp olive oil 2-3 tsp sea salt 2 tsp peppercorns 5 garlic cloves 1-2 sweet potatoes, cubed (# depends on size)
HOW TO COOK
Preheat oven to 425F Rinse inside of chicken out and pat well with paper towels. Slide lemon in half and put both pieces inside cavity (sometimes the lemon is too large to fit - just use one half in that case). Stuff thyme and rosemary in and around lemons. Generously rub olive oil inside and out - I like to use oil already infused with garlic, but it tastes delicious either way. Shake salt and peppercorns around outside of bird. Toss cubed sweet potatoes around the outside of the chicken, as well as the garlic cloves. Drizzle oil over the potatoes as well. The chicken will take much longer than the taters, so depending on my mood, I will either put the potatoes in first and take them out about 20 minutes later, or wait until 20 minutes towards the end. Putting them in early might give them a bit of an extra boost on chicken flavor.
Serves: 5-6 Time: 1-1.5 hours (inside temp should be 165F - probe reads best near the thigh)