A scenic and nostalgic trip and recipe brought to you by Mary Jane Maffini, part of the Victoria Abbott team.
Roast chicken: romantic and rustic
When you look at great recipes, usually they are made up of ordinary ingredient, good quality and fresh, prepared well with spectacular results. This chicken reminded me and my husband of the dinners we shared in a tiny, perfect apartment we shared in the historic village of Anghiari, Tuscany, a few years back, when I was researching The Dead Don't Get Out Much, the fifth Camilla MacPhee mystery (yes, it contains a trip to Italy). We’d pick up the ingredients in the small shops around the piazza and carry them back up the steep and twisty medieval street to the apartment where we’d cook in a kitchen that was smaller than the typical desk. The meals were always terrific, in part because of the lovely herbs that grew on the little terrace by the door, in part because of the location and in part because of the vino that was served at every dinner.
We were tickled to reproduce that flavor and feeling in freezing Manotick, Ontario, in the middle of winter. With the delicious meal, the simple setting, a candle, and an Italian red wine in stemless glasses, it felt like a mini-vacation.
Here’s how we did it:
4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 chicken about 4 to 5 lb
½ to one whole garlic head (rub off outside papery skin and slice in half horizontally through all the cloves)
Sprigs of fresh rosemary or two tsp dried
1/2 bunch fresh thyme, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 400 F (205 C). 2. Place bread slices in centre of a metal roasting pan.
Drizzle 2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 mL) of the olive oil over bread and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Season cavity of chicken with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with prepared garlic head, lemon, lime, tarragon and thyme.
4. Rub outside of chicken with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
5. Place chicken, breast side up, on bread slices.
6. Roast chicken for 1 1/2 hours, until it is very brown and crispy and pan juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. Internal temperature should be 165 F (74 C). 7. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
8. Serve with slices of the fabulous bread from the pan.
This property is owned by one of my Canadian friends. If you’d like to get more details, click this link:
This is the book I wrote based on the research in Tuscany. It's available in print through some outlets and in ebook format. You can check out this and the other twelve Mary Jane Maffini books at Mary Jane Maffini
Here's a link to the ebook! The Dead Don't Get Out Much: A Camilla MacPhee mysteryi
Enjoy the food and the trip!