This rustic dish has been emulated throughout the world with different vegetables and herbs substituted when those given here are not easily available. Serve outdoors on a balmy evening just as the sun sets and you will be transported to a French auberge set amid the fields of Provence.
- For the Chicken:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 5- 6 sprigs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 roasting chicken, about 3 1/2 pounds
- 1 head garlic
- 1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- For the Vegetables:
- 1 cup peeled and cubed eggplant
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
- 8 bottled marinated artichoke hearts, drained and halved lengthwise
- 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
- 4 boiling onions, root ends trimmed
- 2 small plum tomatoes (Roma), halved lengthwise
8 black olives, cured in oil and herbs
- 1 cup water
FOR THE CHICKEN:
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine the butter, chopped thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Using a rubber spatula, blend together well. Lightly season the inside of the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Spread the creamed butter mixture all over the outside of the chicken and place in a large roasting pan. Truss and set aside.
Sprinkle the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt and drizzle with the 1 teaspoon olive oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in the roasting pan with the chicken.
FOR THE VEGETABLES:
In a bowl, toss the eggplant with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand for 10 minutes, then drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Toss well to coat completely and set aside.
Bring a saucepan 3/4 full of water to a boil, add the fennel and boil for 4 minutes. Drain well and place in a large bowl. Add the artichokes, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the thyme sprigs. Toss together well. Add the eggplant and mix to coat evenly.
Place the chicken in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Add the vegetables to the roasting pan, spreading them evenly around the chicken.
Return the pan to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Stir the vegetables, add the olives to the pan, and baste the chicken with some of the pan juices. Continue to roast until the vegetables are browned and tender and the juices run clear when the thickest portion of the thigh is pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the platter. Unwrap the garlic and arrange it and the vegetables around the chicken.
Skim off any excess fat from the roasting pan and place the pan over medium heat. Add the water and deglaze, stirring to dislodge any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Transfer the contents to a small saucepan and cook over high heat until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher and pour over the vegetables. Carve the chicken at the table.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
557 calories; 29g total fat; 171mg cholesterol; 1286mg sodium; 19g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 52g 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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