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Roast Chicken= Comfort...Nostalgia

56 comments /
Roast chicken is pure comfort food to me! It is one of the first actual dishes that I remember making when I first lived on my own and really started, really started...cooking. In hindsight, cooking back then was all about developing the basics (whether I realized it or not. Not.). My first roaster was one of those green-painted oval metal deals. Pot roasts, chuck roasts, pork roasts, whole chickens...all with chunks of root vegetables, quartered potatoes and whole cloves of garlic thrown in, a loaf of crusty bread and a bottle of cheap wine, you know...to make it a meal. It was good stuff...satisfying, filling...a big dose of comfort. Over the years, my roasting pan has improved. I actually have 3 to choose from now! I adore my unglazed stoneware roaster, my self-appointed enameled cast iron roaster (I think it's actually a lasagna dish, but it works wonders as a roaster) and my big, handled silver roasting pan which finally allows me to roast whole turkeys (for my favorite meal of the year). So, although my ways and means have evolved over the years, my affinity for good, roast chicken remains unfeathered. Unfettered! I mean unfettered...sheesh.

The beautiful simplicity of a roast chicken is probably what lures people in...what lures me in. There are endless flavor combinations, endless methods (breast down, breast up, tied, hangin' loose, stuffed cavity, backbone removed & flattened...need I go on?) and endless personal favorites. I recently came across a Tyler Florence recipe in the Aug/Sep 2009 issue of Food Network Magazine for Roast Chicken. He was trying to make a great meal for $12 or less (ended up being $2.90/serving). I'm going to enthusiastically say that he succeeded...and so did I when I served it for dinner last night. It was devoured. Bones were picked and fingers were licked.

Roast Chicken with Wilted Butter Lettuce and Peas
by Tyler Florence, Food Network Magazine Aug/Sep 2009 issue...or HERE

For the Chicken:
1 3-to-4 lb. chicken, rinsed and patted dry
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
4-6 bay leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

For the Lettuce and Peas:
1 c. dry white wine
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
kosher salt
4 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
freshly ground pepper
1 c. frozen peas
 1 large head butter lettuce, leaves separated I couldn't find any butter lettuce so I ended up using 2 small head of bib lettuce and a few leaves of a little radicchio, chopped

1. Prepare the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Season the chicken cavity with plenty of salt and pepper; stuff the lemon halves, garlic, thyme and bay leaves inside.
Drizzle the skin with olive oil and rub all over; season with plenty of salt and pepper. Place the chicken breast-side up in a roasting pan; roast for 1 hour, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 degrees F. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving. I'm going to suggest setting the chicken on a rack to allow the under-side to crisp up as well as the breast-side did.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the lettuce and peas; Combine the wine, red onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and a pinch of salt in a saucepan; simmer over medium heat until the mixture is syrupy and just coats the bottom of the pan. (My tip...watch closely hear the end because it evaporated very quickly. If you end up losing it all, just add a bit more wine to the pan and reduce it until syrupy and go from there.) Whisk in the butter cubes, a few at a time, to thicken the sauce and give it a shine. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm. (Remove bay leaf and peppercorns before serving.)
Place the peas in a small pot of salted boiling water until heated through; drain. Toss the peas, lettuce and warm butter sauce (this is called Beurre Blanc...white butter) in a bowl until the lettuce wilts slightly.

Serve with the chicken.This was a fabulous meal for summertime...or anytime I'm sure. The gorgeous wilted lettuce salad was amazing...the beurre blanc was a silky cover for this mild lettuce, with the sweet little pops of the peas and the addition of the radicchio added a nice little bite. Paired with the beautiful, juicy thyme-essence of the chicken with its golden-crisp skin...I could have been back in my first apartment just as easily as in my current kitchen with my hubby and kiddos. Joy!
Be sure to head over to Tyler Florence Fridays to check out what everybody else cooked up with Tyler this week!
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*Update: I'm proud to have this post featured on Tyler Florence's Blog....click logo to check it out!*
girlichefonTFwebsite


56 comments

  1. There's something about chicken that just makes if soooo good. I have one roaster I've used for years and I love it to bits.

    Looks tender and juicy!!!

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  2. our family is really big on wilted lettuce salads - we make one with onions,bacon and vinegar hot salad dressing that is to die for- so this already is a hit recipe with me

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  3. Wow! Fantastic job on the chicken!!!

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  4. Beautiful roasted chicken. Coincidentally, I made the same dish last night for my dinner party. Check out mine here ;) http://www.phamfatale.com/id_44/title_Mon-Poulet-Roti-Roast-Chicken-wih-a-citrus-butter-marinade/

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  5. That looks so inviting and finger-licking, that I'm dying to try it.
    I've been faithful to my mother's recipe for roast chicken for years now, maybe I could try doing it another way

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  6. The combination fits together and the colors of your fotos look great. wonderful meal. thanks for sharing girlichef.

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  7. Your photos of roast chicken are PERFECT! I agree, there is something about the smell of a kitchen that is roasting a chicken. The aroma says (to me) "everything is well in this kitchen". Isn't that funny?

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  8. You're right. Roast chicken is nostalgia. But with your terrific updated recipe, new wonderful food memories are being made. Boy does it look good! And your pix are outstanding!!

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  9. Love roasted chicken. It's comfort food at its finest. Yours looks wonderful. I should remember to make roasted chicken more often. They say it's what most chefs make at home for themselves on their night off.

    Sam

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  10. This looks like perfection! I love the wilted lettuce alongside it. A winner on every count! Beautiful!

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  11. The quintessential American dish! Perfect. And my thyme is in and begging to be snipped. Love the lettuce and peas. Gorgeous meal.

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  12. I had roasted chicken last night - everything you say is so true - and the way it smells is part of its lure. This looks wonderful with the wilted lettuce!

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  13. You are right about roast chicken, it is just so comforting and reminds me of home, too. This is a wonderful meal and I'm sure you're family loved it!!

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  14. Nice!! I definitely do not make enough wilted lettuce salads!

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  15. Even the photo is comforting! Love this meal!

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  16. Thanks for the wishes. This chicken looks great.

    Esme

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  17. Oh my! This chicken looks amazing! and the lettuce looks so crisp and fresh next to it. Will definitely have to try this! Thanks for visiting my site as I'm looking forward to following you!

    diana

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  18. Roast chickens are one of my favourite things EVER in the kitchen! I use them all the time and I just love the aroma they give off as they roast away...

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  19. Your photographs are gorgeous and this sounds like a wonderful meal. I'll bet the aroma of this meal cooking would make grown men weep. I loved every minute of your post.

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  20. That looks so delicious, Heather! I love roast chicken, and I just picked up this mag at the grocery store. Looks like a winner!

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  21. I love roast chicken, ANY time of the year. Well seasoned crispy skin, tender and moist meat. And I love Tyler so I'm sure this one can't help but be a winner! Thanks for being such a loyal visitor to my blog - you're a sweetheart!!

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  22. I love roasted chicken! I remember being so proud of myself when I first made a full fledged roasted chicken dinner....veggie chunks and all. Yours looks wonderful, and even light enough to have for a summer meal with that beautiful salad.

    btw...I'm holding my breath...waiting for a queso fresco blog! don't make me turn blue! LOL

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  23. As usual you have written such a cute and informative post! foodie licken goodness!

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  24. 100% comfort without a doubt - the smell alone takes me back - your chicken looks so juicy - I dont know what I like more the first plate, seconds or the bits to pick over later...

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  25. This looks so good;truly a comfort meal! Roast chicken is a favorite of mine too!
    Your photos are great!

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  26. love wilted lettuce! gorgeous photos!

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  27. I've made Tyler's roasted chicken, but not with the addition of the wilted lettuce & peas...beautifully accomplished! Congrats on being featured at TF!! Way to go Girli!!

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  28. Congrats! This looks absolutely fabulous!

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  29. Sounds and looks delicious!!! Perfect for any night, but especially summer with those peas!

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  30. This looks delicious!! I always have trouble with whole chickens, but I can make a whole turkey like nobodies business!! LOL!!! Thanks for your nice comment on my red cake too!!

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  31. Your Chicken looks and peas so Amazing! Great comfort Summer food.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe:)

    Have a great day :)

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  32. This is truly a beautiful, colorful, and comforting looking dish!! I spotted this in one of his cookbooks and have been wanting to make it. Yours just looks great : ) Silly me made the Tyler dish and was so excited about my 101st post and giveaway that I forgot to email to the Tff roundup.

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  33. Gorgeous chicken and I love th wilted lettuce and peas too. There is nothing better than the smell and taste of a roasted chicken!

    Congrats on being the featured recipe this week for TFF. I look forward to seeing you on his site next week!

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  34. Hey there girli, this really is comfort food. I love chicken prepared in every way possible, but roasted is my favorite. Beautiful photos. Have a lovely weekend.

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  35. I love Tyler Florence's recipes - will be looking forward to checking your blog out on Fridays! :D

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  36. Wow that really looks great! I think I will have to try this. I have a TEN POUND chicken in my fridge. Had to take it out of my freezer to make room for the side of beef I picked up today. This is the second of two great big chickens I get from my farmer friend here in town. It amazes me how much bigger his chickens are than the grocery stores (and all the recipes out there call for 4 pounders). Glad I stumbled on your blog :)

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  37. delicious girlichef, i need to roast chicken more

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  38. Roast chicken is the best! The best part is that I can use any leftovers to make shredded chicken sandwiches. In Ohio that is a staple of any gathering:) Although I live in NY now and people often think the idea of a shredded chicken sandwich is a bit weird...oh well more for me I guess:)

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  39. I have roasted a half chicken but that really doesn't count! 8-D The first photo shows such perfect chicken and the salad is so vibrant. All around, this is a marvelous dish!

    I can not believe I haven't been to visit you in over 2 weeks!! I'm still a huge fan and will catch up with all that I've missed!

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  40. Wow, that chicken looks so delicious and a great colorful dish, I will try it!

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  41. Geez, I don't even eat meat and this chicken looks yummy! I will be making your lettuce and peas, totally delish sounding and unique!
    :-)

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  42. It's so hard to mess up a roast chicken. Sure the skin may not be as crisp, but it's always good and comforting.

    Your photos look exceptionally beautiful and colorful today. well done.

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  43. Roasted chicken looks awesome.....I think I could do the same just with chicken thighs....
    Well done!

    Angie's Recipes

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  44. This looks lovely. I especially like the colors of the butter lettuce and peas.

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  45. I've made two of Tyler's roast chicken recipes, and now I guess I'll be making a third one! Looks wonderful, just look at that color!

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  46. Hey, girlichef, I'm back! And this chicken looks so fabulous! These are the flavors I make mine with but yours seems to have come out so much prettier! This lettuce sidedish is brilliant!

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  47. I made this in the winter and I was amazed at how perfect it came out. Tyler Florence doesn't get enough credit! I need to get one of his cookbooks! Beautiful photos by the way!

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  48. This is so colorful and perfectly cooked! Lovely.

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  49. Roast chicken is still one of the cooking feats that i haven't attempted yet. I'm not quite sure why...maybe it's because I don't have a good roasting pan. What a great entry, though and congrats on being featured on Ty's website!

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  50. You read my mind! I just finished roasting a chicken because I needed the comfort for the soul.
    I like you side of wilted lettuce, I would have never thought of that!
    Thanks for the tip!

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  51. Oh my goodness, even the pictures are comforting! I love this!

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  52. What a gorgeous roasted chicken that is! gotta try this too as soon as I find a whole chicken around here.

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  53. lovely.. vat a perfectly made chicken.. already craving :)

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  54. We make ckn salad all the time & really needed a new recipe to switch things up. This looks soo good! Definitely going to have to try it

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  55. Yay!!! THE Tyler Florence post!

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  56. Want a delicious recipe for chicken
    then try this new recipe
    I made it for a family dinner
    the kids at it all up in no time

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