Sometimes, the best thing in the world is a roast chicken.
It was one of the first things I learned how to cook and whenever I talk to someone who’s just wetting their culinary legs, it’s one of the first things I teach. Easy, delicious, cheap and impressive, it’s an entrée choice that never disappoints.
While a roast chicken isn’t all that Irish per se, the idea of a soul warming roast is. And while oven roasted potatoes also may not seem all that inspired, the inspiration and Irishness comes in the gravy.
Whiskey Marmalade Gravy.
But first, back to the chicken. I already made a German-flavored roast in honor of the roadside chicken truck roast chicken. That was cool, but as I was perusing some fellow bloggers’ sites, I came across a recipe by Bon Appetit that The Wednesday Chef raved about IN ALL CAPS. OMG THIS CHICKEN. Bored of my usual Cajun King, I figured I’d give it a go.
OMG THIS CHICKEN.
The only words to describe it. Yup, that good.
So I pass along the recipe for THAT roast chicken, hoping that should you find yourself lacking chickenspiration (yup, I did that), you’ll give this beauty a try. And it is a beauty. Like, Miss Universe level beauty.
While the original recipe boasts an oven time that’s low and slow, I don’t have time for that, so I roasted it as I normally would, simply taking the herb rub and leaving the rest. Despite my need to shortcut, it was no less spectacular. Juicy, crispy, herby…yummy. It is most definitely my new roast chicken recipe.
Back to that gravy…
I’m not ashamed to admit that I learned a lot of my cooking technique from Rachel Ray, meaning I can make Thanksgiving in an hour, know to add nutmeg to my greens and I can whip up a pan gravy with my eyes closed. My new no-all-purpose flour-kitchen did not affect the gravy…my gluten-free mix made the roux just fine. So, step 1, simple pan gravy.
What makes this gravy special (and Irish) is that I finished it off with some whiskey marmalade. Like I mentioned with the marionberry jam provided by Gnocchi, my friends, when they travel far and wide, bring me back jam. Orange and her hubs went to Ireland last year and brought me back some very tasty, pungent and appropriately strong Irish Whiskey Marmalade.
While I need to dig deep for some umph to eat it first thing in the morning, I figured it’ be perfect drizzled over meat in some gravy since the whiskey balances out the orange actually quite nicely, so it’s not too orangey. We’re not making orange chicken here. It DID and I will say this very flavorful gravy did not diminish the OMG from the OMG THIS CHICKEN but rather complemented it quite nicely. If you aren’t lucky enough to secure Irish Whiskey Marmalade on your own, I suggest deglazing the pan with about ¼ cup whiskey just as you’ve cooked your roux, before you add your stock and stir in a bit of regular marmalade once your gravy has thickened nicely. Just my two cents. You could also use the chicken pan-drippings to make your roux rather than making a stovetop pan gravy, but I find that to usually be greasier than I like and prefer to make a stovetop one. However, knock yourself out if you’re a drippings kind of cook.
And finally-for the sides:
Oven roasted potatoes: Chop, oil, season and bake. DONE.
Bacon and Kale Saute: BACON.
Chicken Adapted from Bon Apetit
For the chicken:
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½ TB dried marjoram, divided
1 ½ TB dried thyme, divided
1 TB coarse sea salt, plus more
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more
6 TB olive oil, divided
1 3½–4 pound chicken, rinsed and patted dry
1 lemon, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, halved, or quartered if large
For the kale:
1 head kale, washed, stripped from tough veins and roughly chopped
2 slices bacon, coarsely diced
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
For the gravy:
1 ½ cups chicken stock
1 TB gluten-free (or all-purpose) flour
1 TB, heaping of Whiskey marmalade (or regular marmalade)
Squeeze of lemon
Handful of parsley, chopped
For the chicken:
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Mix the fennel seeds, red pepper, chopped or 1 TB dried marjoram, 1 TB thyme, 1 tablespoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper in a mortar and crush with a pestle until you get a relatively homogenous looking mix Add 3 TB of the olive oil in a small bowl. Rub chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Stuff chicken with lemon and garlic. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and place on a roasting rack.
2. Toss potatoes with about 2 TB oil, season with salt and pepper and remaining marjoram and thyme. Place in a pie plate or on a baking sheet.
3. Place the chicken and potatoes in the oven and roast, turning potatoes after about 30 minutes. Roast until skin is browned, meat is extremely tender, and potatoes are golden brown, about 1 ¼- 1 ½ hrs (depending on the size of your chicken). Let chicken rest at least 10 minutes before carving.
For the kale:
4. About 15 minutes before the roasting is done, add the bacon to a large sauté pan. Let the bacon cook and the fat render, about 3 minutes. Add the kale, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cover until the kale has wilted, about 5-7 minutes. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Remove from pan.
For the gravy:
5. In the same pan as you just cooked the kale, make the gravy. Add the remaining oil and about 1 TB gluten free (or all-purpose flour). Stir for a few minutes. Add the stock, and scrape the pan to lift the bits that are stuck to the bottom, if any. Whisk out any lumps. Add the marmalade. Bring to a simmer, and stir until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and finish with the parsley.