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One of my favourite movies is Amelie. Have you seen it? It’s incredibly endearing and sweet. One of my favourite parts of the story is when Amelie finds a box of childhood memorabilia and sets out to find the original owner. The original owner, Dominique Bretodeau, is estranged from his family and instead lives a very solitary, lonely life. Every Tuesday, Bretodeau likes to buy and roast a chicken and pick the meat off the bones with his fingers. But upon finding this box–after careful and strategic planning on the part of Amelie–he has an emotional epiphany and decides to reconcile with his daughter. Later on, we see Bretodeau carefully pulling off a piece of chicken and lovingly giving it to his grandson. A happy reunion.

Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic Roast Chicken
Slightly adapted from Ina Garten
I say ‘slightly adapted’ because I only made very small changes to her recipe. Rosemary worked really well here, especially with the lemon and garlic. I also added potatoes so that I didn’t have to make another side dish. Adding the white wine really prevented the vegetables from drying out and made the chicken really juicy and tender. It almost steams the chicken for the first half of the cooking process. If there’s any of the white wine sauce leftover after roasting, it’s great to drizzle over the chicken when serving. Lastly, do not skip out on the fennel. It is absolutely essential here in my opinion. The pungent licorice aroma mellows out as it cooks and really produces a fragrant, light and sweet flavour to the dish. I’m not a fan of licorice whatsoever, but fennel is amazing when roasted.

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
1 large bunch of fresh rosemary
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
3-4 medium-size potatoes (Yukon gold or red-skin would be best), cut into wedges
1/2 c. white wine
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the rack on the second lowest position so that the top of the chicken doesn’t burn.

In a large roasting pan, place all the vegetables together and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper and add 1/4 of the rosemary (but remove needles from stem) and toss together. Pour the white wine over the vegetables.

Remove the chicken giblets and rinse the inside and outside of the chicken with cold water. Pat dry with paper towel. Season the cavity of the chicken quite liberally with salt and pepper. Stuff it with the remaining bunch of rosemary, lemon, and garlic. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the body. Brush the outside of your chicken with the butter and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan.

Roast for about 1 1/2 hours or until the juices between the leg and the thigh run clear. Remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 20 minutes so that the juices can redistribute throughout the meat. Serve on a platter with the vegetables.

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