JEANNE'S ROAST CHICKEN WITH APPLES AND ONIONS
This satisfying one-dish meal, with its hearty flavors, was a staple of my life in
Belgium and continues to be a failproof dish that I make often for my friends in this
country. For my grandmother Jeanne, this was the dinner she put together on her busy
days when the demands on her time were too many to "cook a proper meal." After arranging
for the opening of an exhibition or a piano recital at her museum, holding a press
conference, and carrying out a few other small tasks, she'd invite a handful of close
friends to dine with her. With a minimum of time in the kitchen, she produced her
roast chicken. Perhaps not a "proper meal" by her standards, but with some bread
and wine, it delighted even the most critical guest.
Even if you have never done it before, you will find that the trick of separating
the skin from the flesh of the chicken is a very simple procedure. This allows you
to slip the bacon under the skin of the breast and thighs. The bacon imparts a light,
smoky flavor to the chicken, and at the same time, eliminates the need to baste it.
A little paprika sprinkled over the chicken before putting it in the oven is an old
home cook's trick to ensure a nicely browned bird.
Here's another tip from generations of busy home cooks: Always try to roast a bigger
bird than you need, so you will have plenty left over for chicken salads and sandwiches.
Serves 4 to 5
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1 whole roasting chicken (3 to 4 pounds), rinsed and patted dry, all visible fat removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 slices smoked bacon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon paprika
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
8 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tart apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 cup chicken broth, plus additional if needed
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, for garnish
||Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
||Season the chicken cavity generously with salt and pepper. Use your fingers to
gently loosen the skin around the breast and legs, being careful not to make any
holes in the skin. Insert the bacon slices under the skin to cover each breast
and each leg. Truss the chicken with kitchen string. Rub the chicken all over
with the butter and sprinkle with the paprika. Place the chicken on its side
in a roasting pan that is just large enough to hold the chicken and the vegetables.
Roast for 10 minutes. Turn the bird to the other side and roast for 10 minutes.|
||While the chicken is browning, combine the onions, potatoes, apples, oil, and
thyme in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.|
||Reduce the oven heat to 350°F. Turn the chicken breast side up, baste it with
the drippings, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the vegetable mixture around
the chicken, and pour in the chicken broth. Roast until the juices from the cavity
run clear, 45 to 60 minutes more. Check on the vegetables from time to time to make
sure that they are not burning. Add a little more chicken broth, if necessary. By the
end of the cooking time, the vegetables should be nicely browned and cooked through
and all the liquid should have evaporated.|
||Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before carving. Arrange the carved chicken on a
warmed platter and surround with the vegetables. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.|
Excerpted from EVERYBODY EATS WELL IN BELGIUM COOKBOOK copyright © 1996 Ruth Van Waerebeek.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.