Can you believe this weekend was the first time I ever cooked a whole chicken?! I discovered I didn't care for the fact that there was no "neat" little bag of innards inside like you find with turkeys...I reached in expecting to find said bag and pulled out an actual chicken liver. Gag. So the first thing I learned was to look into the cavity before reaching inside!
And there was another first this weekend. For the first time ever I actually tried a recipe out of the Food & Wine magazine I've been receiving for the past several months. I got some crazy good discount on the magazine but overall have found the recipes way too complicated in terms of ingredients and actual work. But this one for Chicken with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Cheesy Grits didn't seem too difficult...and honestly, you throw cheese grits into any recipe and I pretty much have to make it.
The chicken and tomatoes were super easy to make and were really tasty. The chicken stayed really moist and I loved how hands off the whole meal was...until it was time to make the au jus. Still not complicated, but I think I used almost every dish and utensil in my kitchen before we finally sat down to eat. Another annoying thing about Food & Wine...this was deemed a Week Night Deluxe dinner...week night?! Who has roughly 2 hours to prep and roast a chicken on a week night?! Finding the time on a Sunday afternoon was pushing it!
8 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large rosemary sprigs
One 3 1/2-pound chicken
2 white onions, cut into wedges
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn the tomatoes cut side down and scatter the rosemary around; bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until very soft and starting to brown. Let cool, then discard the skins.
2. Meanwhile, in a roasting pan, rub the chicken all over with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the onion wedges around the chicken, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken and onions in the upper third of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
3. Increase the oven temperature to 450°. Add the wine to the pan and roast the chicken for about 20 minutes longer, until the onions are well browned and the chicken is golden and the cavity juices run clear. Pour the cavity juices into the pan. Transfer the chicken and onions to a platter; let the chicken rest for 10 minutes.
4. Set the roasting pan over moderately high heat and add 4 of the tomato halves and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer, scraping up any browned bits and mashing the tomatoes, until reduced by one-third. Strain the jus into a saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Carve the chicken and serve with the tomatoes, onions, tomato jus and Creamy Cheese Grits.
If this recipe piques your interest, use these cheese grits instead of the recipe included in Food & Wine...I haven't found any that beat these yet!