Spring has been acting a bit like a spoiled brat this year. I can handle the odd outburst or bout of crankiness, but this flat out misbehaving has got to stop. Instead of writing about perfect picnic fare, complete with idyllic photographs of us sprawled on a blanket, dining alfresco by a lake, as I had hoped, I'm posting on that classic winter meal: roast chicken.
It's June, but the weather has hardly warmed up, and don't get me started on all the rain and other tantrums thrown by spring. For Pete's sake, there's a creek running through my favorite picnic spot from all the rain runoff.
Yeah, so while the rest of you are probably sipping your G&T's and slurping your gazpacho poolside, I'm roasting a chicken and throwing another log on the fire.
This recipe does hint of spring, though, with it's roasted asparagus spears, new potatoes, and fresh oregano from the garden. Coating a chicken in lemon and herbs and roasting it is certainly nothing new, but this is basic fare that I find hard to tire of. I use oregano because I have copious amounts of it, but thyme or sage would be just as lovely. Use about half the amount that the recipe calls for if you do switch up the fresh herbs, though.
The potatoes and asparagus are roasted on the side, but do mound them up around the chicken afterward for a beautiful rustic presentation.
Lemon & Oregano Rubbed Roast Chicken
Serves four with leftovers
1 whole organic chicken, patted dry (about 6 lbs)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh oregano leaves
two lemons, zested and juiced
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
In a small food processor, combine oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic. Pulse a few times until it looks like pesto. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse to combine.
Using your hands, rub lemon-oregano marinade all over chicken. Lift the skin over the breast and be sure to get plenty of marinade on the breast meat. Refrigerate for 2-8 hours. Remove from fridge about a half an hour before cooking.
Preheat oven to 375F. Place chicken in roasting pan breast side up ( I like to use a clay baker for roasting fowl) and place in oven. Roast about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes before slicing. At this time, roast your vegetable garnish.
Roasted New Potatoes and Asparagus with Lemon
Enough small new potatoes for four people
generous bundle of asparagus
6 garlic cloves, peeled
In a large pot, rinse potatoes and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 2-3 minutes until slightly softened, but still raw in the center. Drain and cool.
Snap the ends off of the asparagus and peel the bottom two thirds of the stalk. Slice at a diagonal into two inch lengths.
Crank oven to 450F.
Slice lemon in half lengthwise and each half into six wedges. Toss potatoes, asparagus, garlic cloves and lemon with a generous amount of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and spread out onto a baking sheet. Roast about 12 minutes until nicely colored and potatoes have cooked through. Shake the pan every few minutes during the cooking process to ensure even colouring.
Remove from oven, season with additional salt if necessary, and serve with roast chicken.