Nearly every casual Italian dining establishment offers roasted chicken. In this version, a paste of caramelized garlic and herbs is slathered over the chicken to create a savory crust.
- 20 cloves garlic
- Olive oil, to cover
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, plus oregano sprigs for garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus thyme sprigs for garnish
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 2 small chickens, about 2 pounds each
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 6 russet or golden-fleshed potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
- Lemon wedges
Peel the garlic but leave the cloves whole. In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the garlic cloves with olive oil just to cover. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook the garlic until it is covered with golden dots, about 15 minutes. Watch carefully, as the garlic burns easily. Remove from the heat, let cool and then drain off the oil. Set the oil aside.
In a blender or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the garlic cloves, chopped oregano and thyme, hot water and a little of the reserved oil, if desired. Purée to form a coarse paste, scraping down the sides of the blender or bowl as necessary. Transfer to a small bowl. Set aside.
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.
Using poultry shears or a heavy knife, cut the chickens in half lengthwise. Cut out and discard the backbone. Season the chickens generously with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Rub the garlic paste generously over the chickens, coating all the surfaces. Place the potatoes in an even layer in a roasting pan just large enough to hold the chickens comfortably in a single layer. Top the potatoes with the onions, distributing them evenly, then season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a bit of the reserved garlic oil; reserve the remaining oil for another use. Lay the chickens, cut sides down, on top of the vegetables and cover the pan with aluminum foil.
Roast until the chickens begin to brown, 20-30 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Remove the foil and baste the chickens with the accumulated pan juices. Continue to roast, uncovered, until crusty and deep golden brown and the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced, 10-15 minutes longer.
Transfer the chicken and potatoes to a large platter and garnish with lemon wedges and thyme and oregano sprigs.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
364 calories; 17g total fat; 113mg cholesterol; 79mg sodium; 29g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 23g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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