Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Smitten Kitchen: Flat Roasted Chicken



There are many people, myself included, that think a roast chicken is a roast chicken.  Season with a little salt and pepper and pop in the oven and bake.  Simple enough, right?  Well, I got The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook as a gift for my sister-in-law shortly after it's release (and decided to go ahead and get one for myself since I had been anxiously awaiting the release) and it wasn't long after I gave it to her that I got a text.  They had made something from the cookbook and were addicted.  They made the flat roasted chicken and were in love and amazed.  Not only were they infatuated with this recipe, but they had since gotten many of their friends to make this recipe.  This is now their "go to" roasted chicken recipe.
The next time we went to their house they made this chicken.  Can I say, I see what all the fuss was about.  It's bursting with flavor, moist, tender and juicy.  Seasoned perfectly with a little salt and pepper the roasted with an assortment of veggies nestled under and around the chicken and  roasted.  The chicken comes out of the oven picture perfect.  Once it's completely baked, it's topped with a healthy dose of fresh lemon juice and thyme.
After having this meal at my brother and sister-in-law I knew I had to make this chicken, and soon.  I had been making my way through many the wonderfully droolworthy recipes, but this is not one I had made...yet.  Well, it quickly jumped to the top of my list.  Not only was I amazed by the flavor, but Spencer and Tucker devoured it.
This chicken is simple to prepare and requires a few basic ingredients for seasoning.  Once baked, it's not only as pretty as a picture with golden brown crust but tastes amazing.  Then the veggies.  Oh, the veggies.  They take on the flavor of the chicken, since they are marinating in the chicken drippings throughout the roasting process, as well as a slighlty nuttiness fromt he roasting.  They are incredibly tender and probably some of the best veggies I've ever put in my mouth.  I loved everything about this meal.  It's simple, elegant, hearty and incredibly satisfying. 

Smitten Kitchen: Flat Roasted Chicken
Ingredients:

1 (3-3 1/2 pound) whole chicken
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 Pounds sweet potatoes, thickly sliced (or small, whole yellow potatoes)
2 Large zucchini, thickly sliced (optional)
1 Large red onion, halved and thickly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 2 lemon
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, minced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450.

To prep the chicken-
Use a pair of sharp kitchen shears to remove the back bone.  Carefully cut down each side of the back bone to detach the backbone of the chicken.  Once the backbone is removed, either discard or save for chicken stock.

Liberally season the chicken cavity with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken, cavity side down in a deep roasting pan.  Using a paper towel, or clean kitchen towel, pat dry and season with salt and pepper.  Nestle the potato slices (or whole baby potatoes) in, around and under the chicken.  Scatter the zucchini and onion slices around the pan.  Season with additional salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. 

Place the chicken in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, toss the potatoes to prohibit burning and sticking to the pan.  Return to the oven and continue cooking for 25-40 minutes, until a thermometer inserted in the thigh registers to 160F.   
Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove from oven. Transfer the potatoes to a serving platter. Squeeze the juice from half the lemon over the whole chicken. Carve the chicken, removing the legs, thighs, wings and breasts and arrange on the serving platter with potoatoes. Drizzle with juice from the other half of the lemon, sprinkle with thyme and serve.
 
Recipe source: Barely adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

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