Olive-Stuffed Roast Chicken

Johanna is back for the winter, so we are making this our Second-Annual Vampires-and-Vittles Festival. This means that we try once a week to cook something fun for dinner and watch some saucy vampire fare. Last year it was easy–we had True Blood to watch. On Wednesday, we had our first installment of VAVF, and tried to watch the Vampire Diaries. Truly, my expectations for a vampire show aren’t all THAT high, but Vampire Diaries is pretty dumb. So we might have to change this to Tudors-and-Vittles. Or something. I don’t know. Any suggestions? Something saucy, please.

It is definitely deep winter because my urge to roast chicken has returned. I hadn’t given it even a thought for months and months, but last week, I had to have it. I love a good roast chicken–at its best it is full-flavored and juicy. My apartment warms up while it roasts, and becomes absolutely replete with the gorgeous, gamey smell. Julia Child talked about how much more chickeny the chickens tasted in France. That, I guess, is the goal: achieving the most essential chickenness per bite (or moving to France).

The method in this recipe was much easier than many others I’ve tried, but it came out as succulent as you could want. I bought a kosher chicken, which I think helps with the juiciness. The chicken is stuffed with kalamata olives, lemons (I used Rachel’s preserved lemons again), garlic, and parsley. The olives were so delicious after roasting in all the chickeny juices. After the roasting was done, I used the pan juices to make a little wine gravy. We were starving by that point, so the gravy was a little thin, but basically, there was flavor all up and down this bird.

I wonder if there are people who don’t socialize over food. That would be so far from my frame of reference that it’s truly hard to imagine. Must be the case, though. But for me, it’s nearly always been central. Or maybe there are plenty of people who don’t and I just don’t know them because we were never inclined to be friends.

We served with Brussels sprouts alla Johanna (roasted whole until really, really crispy on the outside and mushy on the inside).

Olive-Stuffed Roast Chicken

1 5 lb. roasting chicken, I prefer kosher
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 lb. kalamata olives (any type would work), pitted
1 lemon halved (I used 2 chunks of preserved lemons)
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
5 sprigs flat leaf parsley
5 oz. dry wine (I used red, but recipe calls for white)
salt and pepper
optional: 8–10 new potatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove any excess fat from the cavity of the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity with the olives, garlic, lemon, and parsley. Truss to close.

Rub the chicken skin with salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon juice over the outside of the chicken and rub with olive oil.

Place the chicken, breast side down, in a heavy roasting pan. If making potatoes, place them all around the chicken. Transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Turn over to brown the breast for another 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, add the wine to the cooking juices, stir well, and cook over low heat until the wine is reduced b half. Check the seasoning and adjust as needed.

Serve the chicken by pouring the cooking juices over the chicken and the olives (definitely eat the olives!). I think I got this recipe from a wine website, because it recommends drinking a Chianti with it. I think we drank a zinfandel. It was lovely.


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About Kate Soto


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