A delicious and flavor-packed star dish
It seems that every time I sit down to share a recipe I am struck with writers block. Which is only mildly embarrassing because I would not exactly characterize blogs (or this blog, for that matter) as the pinnacle of narrative flourish.
Often times that writers block sneaks into other parts of my life, and by that I mean cooking. A year long extended crisis does little for mental freshness, huh ? Needless to say getting creative in the kitchen, or honestly making something besides an egg on toast, has been harder and harder as of late. But when inspiration strikes, whether I'm on a walk or taking a break from work, I try to take advantage of that brief moment of clarity and write it down for my [tired] future self. This, I believe, is true self care (kidding, sort of).
Chicken is always one of my dinner go-to's (though I'm working towards cutting down my animal protein consumption overall) but I cannot bear the thought of yet another plain grilled chicken breast. Thus this spiced chicken and romesco dish was born!
I love making a whole chicken, but to cut down on cooking time I usually like to spatchcock it by cutting out the spine and flattening the bird. It sounds kind of intense, but it is really quite easy once you get the hang of it! I recommend watching some tutorials if you are new to this technique as well as a pair of disposable gloves, kitchen shears or a sharp knife, and a sturdy cutting board.
The blend of warming spices, layered both under and on top of the skin, ensures a flavorful and well seasoned bird. If you really want the flavors to marinate, you can prepare the chicken a few hours before cooking and store in the fridge on a sheet tray wrapped in foil. With the addition of a bright and slightly tangy romesco sauce this chicken dish really shines. Add a side of some roasted broccoli or asparagus and you've got yourself one tasty dinner!
This recipe would work wonderful for a spring or summer get together, and can even be cooked on an outdoor grill if desired (though cooking times would vary-- depending on the grill it would take about 20 minutes per side).
Okay, onto the recipe!
Spiced Chicken with Romesco Sauce
-1 whole chicken (between 3-3.5 lbs), spatchcocked
-1/3 cup olive oil + 1 tbsp
-1 tbsp + 1 tsp coarse kosher salt
-1/2 tsp cumin
-1/2 tsp white pepper
-1/2 tsp dried chili pepper (ground)
-1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
-1 red bell pepper
-1 cup grape tomatoes
-1/3 cup of almonds, roasted
-1/2 cup olive oil + 1 tbsp
-1 tbsp red wine vinegar
-1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
-salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Slice the red pepper in half length-wise and place face down on a sheet tray. Add the grape tomatoes to the sheet tray and coat with the 1 tbsp of olive oil. Place in the middle rack of your oven and let roast for about 20 minutes or until the peppers are soft to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool about 5-10 minutes. Carefully scoop out the stem and the seeds of the bell pepper and add the remaining pepper to a blender with the roasted cherry tomatoes, olive oil, almonds, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes and salt as desired. Blend until smooth and set aside. In a small bowl combine the 1/3 cup olive oil, cumin, salt, white pepper, dried chili pepper and Chinese five spice and whisk to combine. Remove the chicken from the fridge and place on a cutting board, patting the skin dry with a paper towel. Coat the bird bird with the spice mixture by rubbing on and below the skin on both the front and the back of the bird. Place a large (oven safe) sauté pan on your burner and warm over medium high heat for about one minute. Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom evenly. Let warm for an additional minute before adding the chicken to the skillet breast side down. Let sear over medium high heat for about 6 to 7 minutes before carefully flipping the bird and repeating the process on the other side. Lower the oven temperature to 375°F. Place the sauté pan with the chicken into the middle rack of the oven to continue cooking for an addition 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 165°F in at least 3 places. Once the chicken is finished, remove it from the oven and let rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serve with the romesco sauce and enjoy!