April 27, 2010

Soothe Your Soul Roasted Chicken

It was a full weekend with the kids, including early morning baseball games, catching up on chores, grocery shopping, laundry and homework. Late Sunday afternoon, after a stint of unsuccessful, stressful/hectic prom-dress shopping with my oldest daughter, I gravitated to the kitchen in dire need of the best form of therapy I know:

Culinary Therapy.

I rinsed, chopped, peeled, and diced fresh veggies, then mashed herbs, garlic and lemon into butter with my bare fingers, preparing a creamy, magical mixture to smear on the chicken.
The heavy knife in my hand, the sound of water running in the kitchen sink, the pungent smell of garlic and fresh veggies made the ritual of preparing supper soothing and necessary. I craved an escape from the fruitless hunt through long skirts of neon satin with glittering rainbow-zebra-print halter tops, and rhinestone and sequin encrusted size 4 formalwear.

After an hour of immersing myself in the familiar surroundings of the kitchen, I began to heal from a harrowing day facing the weekend mall crowds, traffic, a stressed out teen and a rather limited budget. With dinner in the oven, I plopped down on the couch with a glass of leftover champagne spiked with Chambord pleasantly exhausted, and watched the eighties prom classic, "Pretty in Pink" with the girls.
Soon the heavenly smells of garlic, lemon, and herb chicken and sweet potatoes roasting in the oven engulfed us. The girls sighed with pleasure anticipating a delicious meal, and I finally felt a sense of accomplishment. I may not be the best when it comes to retail shopping and teen style, but I felt like one hell of a cook.

If I could only bake a dress for my daughter, all would be well with the world.

As most of you know, I’ve been on a Jamie Oliver kick and have been playing with his recipes. Although I changed around some of the ingredients, the original recipe for “Soothe Your Soul Roasted Chicken” is adapted from one of his fabulous cookbooks.

It will make your house smell wonderful and your children love you more.
Even when they are grumpy.


• 1 whole roasting chicken (organic and hormone free if at all possible)
• 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
• 1 lemon
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled
• 2 heaping Tbs dried rosemary
• 2 big pinches of salt
• 1 giant pinch of freshly ground pepper

Veggies to roast with the bird~
• 1 head of broccoli cut into chunks
• 3 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
• 2 handfuls of snow peas


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and set out a large baking or casserole pan.

Wash and chop the veggies and set aside in a separate bowl, we’ll get to these later.

Rinse the chicken, remove any innards from the cavity and pat it down with a paper towel then transfer into the baking dish. Carefully push your fingers up underneath the skin, gently separating it from the breast of chicken but not tearing it.

Meanwhile, put the stick of butter into a dish and sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Peel the lemon and then finely mince the peel and add to the butter. Finely chop the garlic and toss into the mix along with the dried rosemary. Mash together with your fingers until well incorporated and press most of the herb, lemon and garlic mixture up under the loosened skin of the chicken. Rub the rest over the outside of the chicken.

Cut the remaining naked lemon in half and stuff into the empty cavity of your bird.

Now pop the dish with the chicken into the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, lift the dish out; remove the chicken carefully for just a minute, and set onto a separate plate. Then toss the veggies into the melted herb butter in the hot casserole dish… you should hear a bit of a sizzle. Using a spoon, push them around a bit until they are slightly coated and glazed with the melted butter and chicken drippings, then put the chicken back on top of them and return the dish to the oven.

Bake for another 40 minutes. Remove and let sit for at least 10 minutes before carving.

*While the bird rests, I usually peel and cut up a couple of sweet potatoes, put them onto a cookie sheet lined with foil and drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with a little sea salt. You can bake them in the 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes and have a perfect side dish for your Chicken Supper.

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