I feel a little like a spinning top these days. Planning wedding, juggling different news stories at work, making time for friends and family — my plate has been a little full. By my calculations, I will be out of town for 5 out of the next 7 weekends. It’s enough to make a girl’s head reel.
The weekends are when I get s%*# done. Hence, being away on the weekends means heaps of dirty laundry pile up, plants go without watering and the refrigerator becomes more and more like a desolate wasteland. Sigh… Dinners will be lookin’ a little strange for the next few weeks…
Weekends are also when I do the bulk of my cooking, and certainly any cooking that takes more than 30 minutes. So much to my dismay, I won’t be eating anything like this roast chicken for quite some time — which is sad because it was super tasty.
This is another one of those dishes that transports you across the Atlantic, making you feel like you’re sitting in a cafe in Aix-en-Provence. The olive oil, the herbes de Provence, the olives and tomatoes — just thinking about them makes me long for another trip to Aix, where I could read, relax and dine…instead of whirling across the northeastern United States managing my life.
Adapted from Gourmet, March 2008
1 pound tomatoes (3 to 4 medium), cut into wedges
1 large onion, cut into wedges, leaving root ends intact
1/2 cup drained brine-cured black olives, pitted if desired
4 large garlic cloves, sliced, plus 1 teaspoon minced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence, divided
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)
Preheat the oven to 400F with the rack in the middle.
Toss together tomatoes, onion, olives, sliced garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence, fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 13- by 9-inch or other 3-quart shallow baking dish. Push vegetables to sides of dish to make room for the chicken.
Stir together minced garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, remaining teaspoon herbes de Provence, and remaining tablespoon of olive oil
Trim any excess fat from chicken and pat dry, then rub inside and out with seasoning mixture. Tie legs together with string, then put chicken in baking dish. It will fit snuggly among the vegetables.
Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of a thigh (do not touch bone) registers 170°F, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Remove the chicken from the pan and let sit on a cutting board for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with the vegetables and pan juices.
Yield: Serves 3-4, depending on the size of the chicken