A few months ago my wife and I agreed to host our friends on New Years Eve. It made sense given that we were going to be away for Christmas, and a belated X-mas celebration coupled with ringing in the New Year sounded like a perfect way to return from vacation. Of course, we didn’t really take into account that we returned the day before we were to host, and that nine days at a Carribean resort would inevitably slow down our planning and expediting skills. That’s not to say that we didn’t pull it off (I think), but in the moment it seemed a little more stressful that we originally thought it would (or we just had refused to think about it). With that in mind, we needed to find something relatively stress-free to make for dinner… for ten people.
We turned once again to our old favorite, the perfect roast chicken. If you have not made this recipe, you need to go make it. Now.
Again, I don’t claim to have invented this recipe, although I certainly don’t follow it exactly. You can find the original from Ina Garten here.
With my modifications for our New Year’s meal, my ingredient list looked like this:
- 2 (5 pound) roasting chickens
- Salt and pepper
- 4 tabs butter
- 2 large bunchs fresh thyme
- 2 lemons, halved
- 2 heads garlic, cut in half crosswise
- 2 large yellow onions, thickly sliced
- 10 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
- 2 bulbs of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
- Olive oil
- 2 Bags mini golden potatoes
The process is pretty simple:
Remove the giblets, wash the chickens, and pat them dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside and outside of the birds. Stuff each one with two lemon halves, a head of garlic, and about 3/4 of the bunch of thyme. I use skewers to keep the opening closed and seal in the juices and flavorful effervescence.
Toss the veggies (potatoes included) together in salt, pepper, olive oil and the stripped thyme leaves.
Place a layer of veggies in the bottom of the roasting pan, place the chicken in the center, and layer the potatoes around the bird. Slice the tabs of butter, and cut small slices in the skin of each bird to stuff them in.
The result should look something like this:
The juices from the cooking birds will drip down into the pan where they will be absorbed by the vegetables and
potatoes as they roast.
Total roasting time is about 1.5 to 2 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, and make sure to allow for twenty minutes of resting time when you remove the fowl from the oven.
This is a seriously simple recipe, that you need to make. In my opinion the combination of the lemon, garlic and thyme in the bird, coupled with the fennel in the roasting pan makes this recipe what it is… Simply delicious!