I roasted a chicken. With rosemary, garlic and lemon. Her name was Rosie. Or at least that’s what it said on the tag. I’m not sure how I feel about that but as my 11-year old pointed out, just like they do in Avatar, we gave thanks for her life so that we might feed our family.
Already, our mornings are peppered with fog and mist.
I put some boots on this morning. And then, I quickly took them off.
Our final moments at the coast, clearly heralded the waning days of summer.
Not wanting a bit of Rosie to go unappreciated, I made chicken stock. The smell of which made me think fondly of my grandma. I felt her hug and heard her laugh. Then, I thought of the holidays.
The children are back in school. The house is so quiet. So very, very quiet. A mess, from a summer of neglect….but quiet.
The sun has clearly changed. Up there in our crisp sky. A new angle. She’s all glitter and sparkles.
There are leaves falling….on my neighbor’s lawn.
Apples are in the trees. I had my first Honeycrisp of the season. A wee bit tart but a Honeycrisp nonetheless.
I find myself pondering combinations of black and red….”Oooo black pea coat with red scarf and ooo, ooo, black converse.” so that I can appropriately show my support like any good football mama. (Nevermind that my guy is on the bench with a cast on his lower arm and I haven’t even been to a game because what’s the point of going to a game of 5th and 6th graders if your guy isn’t playing?)
Shasta Daisies have given way to Black-Eyed Susans.
The hurricanes have been filled with coffee beans.
My sweetie arrived home just the other day with the first of the Christmas gifts to stash away.
I hear the piano calling to me. Asking me to please lift the lid and run my fingers up and down the keys. Just one little tune and if not that, “Please, at least, dust us.”
But despite all of this. Despite every indication that fall is here (with the holidays right around the corner), I just can’t quite believe it. We must have another month of summer tucked in here somewhere. “Why?”, you ask. “Why this disbelief, Carrie?” Well, I’ll tell you why. Because….my tomatoes are still green. Just look at them.
Not a single red one. Not even the little guys. Trails of green globes. But no red ones. Uh-uh. Nada. Rien. Nope. Nothin’. I even went out last spring and purchased new-fangled curly-cue tomato stakes. The ones that are supposed to give them plenty of breathing room but no. This is how they repay me. Not a single ounce of appreciation for my efforts.
I recently had the fine opportunity to be at a lunch hosted by Chef Dustin Clark of Wildwood Restaurant acclaim and he told me that he has red tomatoes but he also goes out and “blankets” his tomatoes every evening. Hmmmm….the only thing that’s getting blanketed around here is my 3 children. But then again, that’s why he’s a world-renowned chef and I’m just….well, I’m just me.
And then, as if to slam it home for me that yes, fall is here, a monsoon blew through our fair city last night. Littering leaves all over my newly mowed lawn and blowing down my tomato plants with such force that the new-fangled tomato stakes snapped in half. (Clearly the joke’s on me.) However, despite this maddening weather and all indications that summer is over, one little red fellow rolled out from under the wreckage. Who knew?
Rosemary and Garlic Roast Chicken with Potatoes
1 whole chicken, 3-lbs or so
2-3 sprigs of rosemary
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, halved
1 lb small boiling potatoes, red or white, cut in quarters
Additional salt, pepper and olive oil
As soon as you bring your little bird home from the grocery store, even if it’s a day or two in advance, go ahead and generously sprinkle the inside and out with salt and pepper. Of course, you can only salt and pepper the inside once you’ve removed the little packet containing the neck and giblets which I’m sure you will put to good use later in a neck and giblet gravy. Then, you can put her back in the fridge until you’re ready to roast her.
Now, depending on your time schedule, you can also do the following a day or two in advance or an hour before roasting. Whatever your schedule allows. In a small bowl, mix up your rosemary (amount depends on how much of a “rosemary” taste you like), your garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Now, using your own, clean hands, gently lift up the skin and carefully, “spread” your mixture between the skin and the meat. You will need to do this in a few places around the chicken so you don’t pull the skin completely off the bird. If you are doing this an hour before roasting, then just loosely cover your chicken and leave her on the counter. Otherwise, loosely cover her and put her back in the fridge, taking her out again an hour before roasting.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Coat your potatoes with a tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. (You can choose to use a roasting rack or not. If you do use a rack, place it in your roasting pan first.) Place your potatoes on the bottom of a shallow roasting pan or “earthenware” dish.
Brush your chicken with a bit of olive oil. Give it one last sprinkle of salt and pepper and put your halved lemon inside your bird. You can tie up the legs if you’d like or just leave them hanging out there like I did for an “extra-crispy” effect.
Put your bird directly on the potatoes or on your roasting rack and then, place in the center of your oven.
Now, you can leave her in there for 1 hour and up to 1 1/2 hours or until the juices run clear (mine took 1 hour 20 minutes) and then, pull her out, let her rest for 15 minutes. After she’s had her “resting period” call someone who won’t mangle the job to carve her up. OR, you can follow Alice Waters advice, which is what I did, and roast her for 20 minutes, then flip her over for another 20 minutes and then, flip her back over for the remainder of the time. A simulated roasting spit. Now, I don’t know if this makes any difference or if it’s just complete insanity but I have a “rawther” high opinion of Alice Waters so I went with it. Then, I did the carving job myself which is to say…a mangled one.
Now, I must tell you that the chicken was delicious and the smells in our house…..oh, the smells in our house. But it was the potatoes. The potatoes, roasting there in the pan juices, that were absolutely divine. Enjoy.
All original text and photographs copyright: Carrie Minns 2009-2010