Greek Roasted Chicken
Roasted Chicken? In the SUMMER?? Well...maybe you've heard about the incessant rains in Texas. The day I created this "recipe" - if you can call it that - was one of those days and it just wasn't practical. This lovely chicken had been hanging out in my fridge but was on its last day, so I had to come up with something. Even with the rain, it was still 80 degrees outside, so something lighter was on my mind. The fact that all the ingredients for a Greek salad were in my fridge was the deciding factor for this recipe -if you can really call it that.
On that note and before I go on with the Greek Roasted Chicken, I have just written an e-book called "Rock Star in the Kitchen" and this is a perfect example of what I present in that book. It's all about flavors, formulas and simple techniques that when combined make simple dinners without having to rely on recipes. Get it now by submitting your email in the box at the top right.
Prepping the Chicken
In the photos below, you'll notice the chicken is flat. Why? Because with more surface area, it will cook faster. I have relied on this technique for roasting chickens for years now, but with a flattened chicken, it only takes about 45 minutes versus an hour for a whole chicken.
How do you get a flattened chicken? One of two ways...go to a full service meat department (most grocery stores meat departments qualify) and ask the butcher to cut out the back but have them save it for you to make stock...really...it's easy. OR do it yourself, here's how.
That's the hardest part (and if the butcher does it, it's not hard at all.)
Before you do anything else, preheat your oven to 475 degrees.
Now, here are the star ingredients for the chicken (besides the chicken itself):
Like I said, this isn't really a recipe, more of a technique. Mix all these ingredients together in a bowl (if you must have something resembling measurements, just follow the photo above and make sure you have about the amounts shown.) Once these are mixed together, you can tuck the mixture under the skin of the chicken and then rub the remainder on the outside. It looks like a lot of salt, but your chicken is probably at least 3 pounds if not closer to 5 so you will need it.
Set a wire rack over a cookie sheet (and if you're feeling industrious add some quartered potatoes under the wire rack so your chicken also flavors the potatoes while it's cookiing.) the plop the chicken on top. Make sure it is flattened out completely with his legs turned in and the wing tips tucked under.
Place the chicken in the oven and let it ride for 30 minutes to get a good golden crust on the skin.
Making the Salad
Set a timer for that thirty minutes, then while the chicken is cooking, chop up cucumbers, olives, tomatoes, red onions (soak in hot water with salt to remove the bite) and feta cheese. Traditionalists say no lettuce, but to stretch these ingredients for my hungry man-children and because they don't eat tomatoes (What is wrong with them???), I always add lettuce. Dress with a sprinkle of oregano, pepper and sea salt then toss with the juice of a lemon and drizzle of olive oil. Easy Peasy, right?
When you hear your timer, turn down the oven to 400 and cook until the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh is 170 or the thickest part of the breast is 160. It will look like this!
Putting It All Together
Once you remove it from the oven, let the chicken rest under foil for ten minutes or so, and if you added the potatoes, put them back in the oven to brown and crisp up. If you're at my house, pulling a chicken out of the oven means that suddenly I have three vultures dressed like men (and young men) gather around me to pick off the skin, but this time I had them hold off for photo taking time!
Now, seriously...that skin, though! Don't discard it, eat it. Leave it on the chicken while cutting if possible, but if it isn't staying on, remove it and make "chips" If any of the removed skin isn't crispy, just place on a cookie sheet to bake for 5-10 minutes. (Only don't do this with anything but organic chickens as the skin can hold a lot of contaminants.)
Need to know how to carve a chicken? Check this out.
You can present for a big group with the chicken right alongside the salad on a large platter, or for the fam, I just cut the now skinless chicken into pieces and give everyone some chicken and salad. If you cooked potatoes with your chicken, tuck them amongst the salad to soak up all the flavors.