I made dinner again. It was a chicken roasted in a pot. Again, something that seems simple and obvious and yet I was drawn in to the hominess of it – I fell for it like an afternoon advetorial, strapped into my WestJet seat and watching the Food Network on the back of the seat in front of me.
I admit I’m preoccupied with the thought of the crispy skin that comes on a roasted chicken. It’s kind of the best part. Then again, tossing a chicken into a pot (on top of a chopped salad of onions, carrots and celery) and baking it with the lid on ensures incredibly juicy meat – so if that’s what you’re after, this version is about as foolproof as it gets. You can peel off the rubbery, fleshy skin and feed it to the dog. I’d prefer to not share the “after” photo here; it’s not enticing.
So what Michael does is he returns the pot to the stove, sans chicken, and tosses in cherry tomatoes and spinach to wilt down in the juices along with the carrot and celery that have already cooked with the chicken. Good idea.
I admit Mike was a little more enamored with this part than I was – it seemed a little soupy to me, and so the next night I shredded the chicken and returned it to the pot and turned it into somewhat of a soupy chicken stew. It worked.
Which, reading the end of the recipe now, it turns out was the whole point to begin with.
Chicken Roasted in a Pot
adapted from Chef Michael Smith
a couple onions, peeled and chopped
a head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
a couple celery stalks, chopped
a carrot, peeled and chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, tarragon, oregano or thyme – if you have them
a bay leaf or two
a whole chicken
a couple handfuls of spinach or chard, torn
a couple handfuls of cherry or grape tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Toss the onions, garlic, celery and carrot into the bottom of a heavy lidded pot and set the chicken on top. Sprinkle the lot with salt and pepper and toss in a few sprigs of rosemary or thyme or whatever fresh herbs you have, if you have them.
Cover with a tight-fitting lid and bake the chicken for 90 minutes or so, until the juices from the cavity run clear and the joints wiggle in their sockets. Remove the chicken and rest on a plate, covered with foil, for 15 minutes or so before slicing.
Meanwhile, set the pot over medium-high heat and bring the onion mixture to a simmer. Add the spinach and tomatoes and stir until the spinach has wilted and the tomatoes have heated through. Slice the chicken, removing all the meat. Toss the meat with the spinach and tomato mixture. Serve immediately.