Everyone needs a recipe they can execute with one eye closed, one hand tied behind their back and half of a working brain. Roasted chicken is that recipe for me. I never have to look at a book or web page and it seldom tastes the same as the one before. Some days it’s sprinkled with fresh herbs and stuffed with sour lemons and other days it’s spiced with a smoky chili powder, speckling the skin with a deep reddish hue.
This past week has been a tough one, requiring me to rely on food that comes easily. My body is feeling the effect of what I can only now suspect are late nights and early mornings. Of course, at this time in my life, I had hoped it was actually the result of a small person forming somewhere in there, but alas, not this month. It’s amazing to me how much power a little stick that you pee on holds in your heart when you’re desperately trying to get pregnant. For a few dollars, it sure does hold a significant percentage of my emotional attention. When it doesn’t present as many lines as I want it to, it certainly seems less friendly. I guess if someone was peeing on me, I might not be cooperative either.
So, for a few more days, I’ll need to get by without too much thinking while I climb out of this funk. This chicken will feed us for a few more meals without much attention, adding it to salads and scrambles to fill them out. The farmers market is back tomorrow after a break last week, so we’ll stock up on fruits and vegetables that seem to be best when little is done to them.
method memorized from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
If you find yourself to be in a moment when you need a mindless meal, try this chicken. It’s little more work than a frozen pizza and feels better in the end. Serve with something as easy as roasted carrots from the market (you can roast them right along with the chicken in a separate pan during the last 10-12 minutes) or a simply dressed green salad.
- 1 3-4 pound whole chicken, preferably organic
- chili powder
- Rinse and dry the bird. Rub with salt and refrigerate for at least two hours and preferably up to two days ahead. If you don’t have the time, just proceed to the next step.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the middle. Place bird, breast side down, in a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with pepper, chili powder and salt. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven, flip the bird over and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Again, remove from the oven, flip the bird over and return it to the oven to finish cooking for another 20 minutes. (Note: I use metal tongs to flip the bird, with one tong inside the cavity and the other on the outside. This seems to work best, however, you can also use bunches of paper towels but be careful not to burn yourself and remember, your pan is HOT!)
- Let the bird rest for about 10 minutes then carve and serve.