In previous years, rainy days found me scrounging around the pantry for things to bake. This year, however, it appears that I roast a chicken. I go back and forth in my thoughts on a roast chicken. To many cooks (and their eating public), a perfect roast chicken is the ultimate dish. In its simplicity there is actually quite a lot if room for error and certainly there seem to be as many recipes for that perfect roast chicken as there are chickens.
Having tried a few standards (a few blog-worthy ones coming soon), I wanted to go in a new direction. As delicious as that perfect simple roast chicken is, I must admit that I can find roast chicken a little boring. And so, I found a recipe for Curry Roast Chicken and then played around with it using the bounty of late summer local produce that I found myself with yesterday.
Rather than your typical roast onions, I used leeks from Satur Farms. The chicken, garlic and tomatoes were both from Vermont. The winner for most local item, however, was my dried chili peppers from down the hall. We didn't get our garden in gear this summer before the floods and the cool weather, but our neighbor graciously gifted us with dried habaneros from his crop.
The result was a welcome change from otherwise delicious roast chicken. Please keep in mind that we love spice in this house. The original recipe called for 1 tsp curry powder and left it at that. I wanted to create something a little more complex. The spices I used were not hot and gave the chicken a lovely full flavor. Feel free to play with it as you wish. Or, for that matter, to go complete rogue. I'm tempted to try this again using chili powder and cumin or Chinese five spice powder. The sky is the limit. If you play around with this, let me know!
Curry Roast Chicken with Tomato Leek Gravy
Adapted from Grace Parisi at Food & Wine Magazine
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 6 garlic cloves, 2 minced
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground ginger (try substituting fresh minced)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 whole 4 pound chicken
- 1 large leek, white parts only, quartered, well rinsed and chopped
- 2 cups diced seeded fresh tomatoes
- 1 1/2 dried habaneros (or 2 fresh), sliced (seeded if you want less heat)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
- 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
- Preheat oven to 425F with rack in bottom third of oven.
- Mix minced garlic cloves and spices into softened butter. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pat chicken dry. Rub half of butter mixture under the skin of the chicken. Rub remainder around on top of the chicken skin.
- Spread leeks, tomatoes, chilis and remaining garlic cloves evenly in the bottom of a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Pour 1/2 cup water into the rack. Place chicken breast-side up in rack.
- Roast chicken for 30 minutes, until skin begins to turn golden brown. Flip the chicken breast-side down and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
- Flip the chicken over one more time. Add another 1/2 cup water and cook for 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 180F when stuck in the fleshy part near the thigh.
- Remove the chicken to a cutting board and place the roasting pan on top of the stove over medium. Add the chicken broth or wine and stir, scraping up all the browned bits. Add yogurt just before serving the gravy.