I decided that since the bird had already been given a middle Eastern theme, I’d dress it up a little with a rub – a paste made with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, a crushed clove of garlic, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1/4 tsp. allspice. (Mashing it together proved once and for all that my mortar and pestle is useless. Pretty, but the smooth marble does not promote grinding; it rather allows everything to slide around unless you directly bash it with the end of the pestle. I’ve seen those coarse ones at Winners for under $20, and imagine they’d do a much better job of it.)
I’ll spare you the photo of the goopily rubbed raw chicken. It just doesn’t look appetizing at all. But after an hour and a half in the oven:
Huge success. The rubbed-down crispy skin was fantastic paired with the falafel stuffing, which was admittedly mushy, but in the best possible way, all loosened up by the chicken juices. I could hardly contain myself from picking at the crispy bits coming out of the bird and in the bottom of the pan. OK, I didn’t restrain myself at all.
To go with it, a Greek salad. Chopped tomato, cucumber, slivered purple onion, crumbled feta, tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette – Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette makes a perfect Greek salad dressing, but I don’t buy bottled salad dressings since they’re so easy to make – particularly balsamic vinaigrette.
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 English cucumber, chopped
1/2 small purple onion, slivered or finely chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta (or as much or as little as you like)
equal parts balsamic vinegar and canola or olive oil
a small squirt of Dijon mustard
a small clove of garlic, pressed (or bash it and leave it in the jar to infuse the dressing, but don’t let it pour out when you top your salad)
drizzle of honey or maple syrup