Herbed Faux-tisserie Chicken

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(Photo by Gentl & Hyers for Bon Appétit)

Bon Appétit is a weird food magazine. I pick it up, read through it, and am generally uninspired. But if I see someone else making a recipe from their magazine, suddenly it looks magical and I must have it.

Case in point: this Herbed Faux-tisserie Chicken. I didn’t give it a second glance in the magazine, but after the fellows over at The Bitten Word raved about it I found myself hunting for marjoram at Harris Teeter.

This recipe uses a lower oven temperature and a longer cooking time than traditional roasted chicken to resemble the tenderness of a rotisserie chicken. Weirdly, I had never roasted a chicken before so this was full of all kinds of firsts for me. Unfortunately, I missed the writing on the chicken packaging that said “No giblets or livers!” until after I had gone fishing around in the cavity while muttering “ew, ew, ew, ew.”

The slow cooking of the chicken really did yield a more tender bird than the traditional roast chicken. The lemon and garlic stuffing stands out in the finished product, and the potatoes that you scatter haphazardly about the chicken are browned and tender.

The recipe is simple. You crush fennel and red pepper together, add chopped herbs, and mix it with olive oil. After rubbing that all over the chicken, you stuff it with more herbs, a lemon, and a head of garlic. Although the time in the recipe says 3 hours for a 3-4 pound chicken, mine was well above the correct temperature after 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Roasted brussel sprouts pair very well with this recipe. I scattered about a pound of brussel sprouts in with the potatoes after an hour of cooking. To brown the vegetables a little more, when I pulled the chicken out to rest I left the vegetables in the oven for another ten minutes, and increased the oven temp to 400.

Herbed Faux-tisserie Chicken and Potatoes

Bon Appetit (March 2014) – Recipe by Carla Lalli Music

Serves 4.

My Notes:

  • Is fresh marjoram a myth? I looked at Harris Teeter and Giant and couldn’t find it. I settled for oregano, which was fine.
  • I love that you can use a rimmed baking sheet for this, since I don’t own a roasting pan.
  • I managed to lose my kitchen twine and had to settle for purple embroidery floss to truss the legs. The chicken (Carl, I named him) looked like he was going to a fancy party.
  • The cooking time was 45 minutes less than stated on the recipe, so check the temperature of the chicken well before the cooking time is up.
  • I lost the cap to my spice/coffee grinder so just sort of smashed the fennel seeds and red pepper with the back of a spoon. I don’t think it was ideal. I found the cap to my spice grinder immediately upon putting the chicken in the oven.
  • Next time I will scatter extra cloves of garlic in with the potatoes since I really wanted to eat the cloves inside the chicken but I wasn’t sure if there was the food safety issue one has with turkey stuffing.

Ingredients: 

2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh marjoram; plus 4 sprigs, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme; plus 4 sprigs, divided
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 3½–4 pound chicken
1 lemon, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, halved, or quartered if large

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300°. Coarsely grind fennel seeds and red pepper flakes in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle. Combine spice mixture, chopped marjoram, chopped thyme, 1 Tbsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, and 3 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl. Rub chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Stuff chicken with lemon, garlic, 2 marjoram sprigs, and 2 thyme sprigs. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. (Editor’s Note – OR EMBROIDERY FLOSS FOR MAXIMUM FANCINESS).

Toss potatoes with remaining 3 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Push potatoes to edges of baking sheet and scatter remaining 2 marjoram and 2 thyme sprigs in center; place chicken on herbs. Roast, turning potatoes and basting chicken every hour, until skin is browned, meat is extremely tender, and potatoes are golden brown and very soft, about 3 hours. Let chicken rest at least 10 minutes before carving.

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