Friday, December 28, 2007

Roast chicken with rosemary - garlic paste

1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped, plus 3 whole fresh rosemary sprigs
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 whole chicken (about 2kg), backbone and neck removed
1 punnet cherry tomato
1 punnet button mushroom
1 yellow or red bell pepper
1 large white onion
1 lemon
1 lettuce

(Chicken can be marinade 8 hours ahead or overnight. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before roasting)

Combine chopped rosemary, chopped garlic, black peppercorns and sea salt in mortar and crush with pestle or blend in mini processor until coarse paste forms. Mix in olive oil. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Rub 1 teaspoon herb mixture over bone side of chicken. Turn chicken over and open like book; place chicken, skin side up, on work surface. Loosen skin from breast and thigh meat; rub remaining herb mixture over meat under skin. Rub any remaining herb mixture on outside of chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before roasting.

Wipe clean the button mushrooms and cut into halves. Wash all other vegtables and cut into pieces (except lettuce).

Preheat oven to 200°C. In a large ceramic or glass baking dish, place all vegetables (except lettuce) at the bottom. Place a wire rack in the baking dish over the vegetables. Place rosemary sprigs on the rack and place chicken, skin side up, atop rosemary sprigs in dish. Position rack in center of oven. Roast chicken uncovered for about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer chicken to platter and serve with lettuce and a wedge of lemon.