There’s been so much rain in the Northeast this summer, that the quince trees have borne rotted fruit. I’ve missed most of that rain though, and I never thought I’d say so, but I miss it. I’ve spent most of this summer in arid climates where you can’t count on rain to wash away the sidewalk stains. Last night, I felt my first rain in months. It was misty and cool and cozy and inspiring. And so, in honor of this rare moment, I put on some Billy Holiday and made a roasted chicken. I never used to love chicken, but I do now, and there’s little else more satisfying than crispy chicken skin, buttery dark meat and vegetables that have roasted well in a pan of chicken fat.
“Sunday Roasted Chicken”
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 3 3/4 to 4- pound chicken
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Put the peppercorns and salt in a mortar. Using a pestle, crush the peppercorns until coarsely ground. Add the lemon zest and garlic and grind until a paste forms. Add the thyme and crush until the leaves are barely pulverized and the fragrant oils are released.
- Cut the wing tips off the chicken and reserve them with the giblets for sauce. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel. Gently slide your fingers under the breast of the chicken to loosen the skin, being careful not to tear it. Rub some of the olive oil underneath the skin and the rest on the outside of the chicken. Repeat with the seasoning paste. Slip slivers of garlic and pieces of butter under the skin. Stuff the cavity with lovely things like the rest of the lemon chopped up, and whole springs of good smelling herbs…
- Using kitchen twine, tie the wings behind the back and truss the legs together.
- In a baking dish, over a melange of vegetables (such as carrots, potatoes, or onions) if you please, cook the chicken for about 55 minutes, lowering the temperature to 400 half way though. Place the chicken on a carving board, and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.