08 March 2010


Friends, I'd like you to meet tonight's dinner...

PREHEAT oven to 450.

TUMBLE in large roasting pan with a few glugs of olive oil, kosher salt and cracked pepper....
a large red onion, cut lengthwise into wedges
a medium yellow onion, cut lengthwise, likewise, into wedges
a couple of leeks, rinsed well and cut into rough bias-cut chunks
a red bell pepper and a yellow one too, lopped into large, odd bits
several twigs of fresh thyme

NESTLE a well-rinsed and patted-dry roasting chicken (dry is crucial if you don't want a slimy, steamed bird), roughly three or four pounds, atop the happy crowd of vegetables.

HAPHAZARDLY SPRINKLE the bird's sad little yellow belly with
ground coriander
ground cardamom (easy, tiger)
ground cumin (my go-to for smoky, deep tastiness)
oregano and basil, both of the dried persuasion
ancho chili powder
gently crushed fennel seeds
more kosher salt and cracked pepper

DRIZZLE with olive oil, massage spices and oil into a lovely little paste until she looks nicely speckled.

ROAST for about an hour, maybe a tiny bit more. Check on the little dear from time to time and, if it seems dry, drip over the skin a bit of the heavenly nectar that should now be gathering in the bottom of the pan. (She's done when you sneak the tip of your knife into that little tender spot between the leg and the body of the bird and the juices run clear.) Let her rest, for heaven's sake -- she's been through a lot -- about fifteen minutes under a loose foil coverlet.

HACK AND DISH IT UP with polenta and/or a seriously crusty armload of artisan bread. No squishy, white Kroger-brand impostor baguette will do, here (you'll thank me later). The peppers and onions should be falling apart like well-loved old rags, but they'll be much better-tasting.