Roast Mediterranean Chicken (serves 4)

Inspiration..

It is certainly fun making up recipe names – they just pop into my head when I look at the assembled ingredients. This one became Mediterranean when I saw the black and green olives sitting on the counter with some cherry tomatoes, rosemary, fresh thyme and a big bottle of olive oil! This is without fail one of the most flavorful methods of cooking a chicken with little to no effort! I always try to keep a couple of cut-up chickens in the freezer. There is nothing handier to throw together in the evening and the aroma in the kitchen is mouth-watering. There are a million ways of putting this together. Look in your fridge and pantry and find at least three things. If you have just an onion, garlic and 1 fresh herb you are set. I cannot say enough about how much food improves with the addition of herbs. In warmer weather you can grow all sorts of things with little space and not much know-how. Dashing out to the garden and grabbing a bunch of sage leaves right when you need them is happiness to me! In the winter time buying herbs can be expensive but I think it is money well worth spending. The trouble I see is that you might need a sprig of something for a dish and then you let the rest of it shrivel and die in the vegetable crisper – sinful. That is why I put it in to everything until it is used up. The same herb can taste so different with lamb than with fish. Don’t be afraid to use it even if your recipe doesn’t call for it. As I have said again and again if you let yourself experiment the world of food opens up to you – get cooking!

Preheat oven 425*

You will need: 1 cut-up chicken (about 4 lbs I use a kosher chicken which had been brined and has great flavor), 1 dry pint cherry tomatoes, 1 head of garlic, 1 cup of mixed green and black olives (I used Kalamata – can be pitted or not and also if you only have 1 type that’s fine too!), 2 medium yellow potatoes,  5 shallots, 1 inner celery stalk (mild and tender), 1/2 cup white wine, 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, 3 or 4 sprigs of thyme and 1 sprig of rosemary, freshly ground black pepper.

As you chop and wash, place in pan..

I use my big 13″ All-clad pan for this dish. As you prep each of the following, place in pan: Chop shallots roughly, slice celery, break up head of garlic and toss into pan whole with skin in tact, cherry tomatoes whole, olives, herbs, several grinds of black pepper and white wine. Trim chicken of excess skin and place on top of vegetables. Pour 1/2 cup of broth over chicken and rub chicken skin with about 2 tbs olive oil. Season with black pepper. If you are not using a kosher chicken, season chicken with about 1 tsp of kosher salt. Place in oven for 40 minutes. Turn oven down to 400* and remove the chicken from oven and scatter diced potatoes in-between the pieces. Pour 1 cup of broth over meat and potatoes. Place pan back into oven turning the pan the opposite way that it was (more even cooking) and roast for a further 30 minutes.

Ready to remove chicken and work on pan sauce..

Take out of oven and remove the chicken pieces to a plate and tent with foil. Remove the garlic cloves and squeeze the meat out of skin and mash to a paste with a fork. Swirl back into the pan juices.

pop meat out of skin and mash - you could also leave whole and put a few cloves on each plate..

Add more broth if you want more liquid and stir. Put chicken on a plate and serve with pan sauce and vegetables.

My daughter had her chicken with tagliatelle..the chicken skin was yummy!

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