Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Best Friend's Roasted Chicken

Well, first I need to disclose that this best friend is, regrettably, no longer a friend; the friendship did not withstand the pressures of our moves from Los Feliz/Silverlake (mine to Santa Monica, hers to Glendale), children (hers adopted, mine step), divorce and subsequent depression. However, it was a fine friendship for many years, and this recipe is what T.S. Elliot might have referred to as the objective correlative of our affection and connection. So here goes.
  • Buy a 3 lb. roasting chicken, a large quantity of garlic (one can never have enough), some fingerling potatoes and/or parsnips, and a lemon. (I assume you'll have the rest on hand in your pantry.)

  • Invite your best friend over; pour some Milliare Simply Red if you're lucky enough to have friends who bring down cases from Murphys (alternatively, anything inexpensive recommended by the guys at Topline on San Fernando Rd. can do you no wrong in this recession) and invite her (or him) to join you in peeling at least 20 cloves of garlic.

  • Since most everything is enhanced by music, let your friend choose something--it's the gracious thing to do. Your only rules: no iPod shuffling; whole albums preferably, vinyl if you still have your collection (and kudos to you if you do!). You'll have your choice later.

  • Okay, this is a tad pedestrian-modern, but I like to spray my roasting pan with olive oil. Then toss the peeled garlic cloves in the middle. At this point it is appropriate to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  • Rinse the chicken with red wine vinegar inside and out, pat dry, and fill the cavity with the lemon, quartered (make stock for some other time with the giblets if you like).

  • Brush the chicken with a) melted butter, b) olive oil, or c) if a bit tipsy and lazy, just aerosol the bird with oil (merde). I skip salt (see next step) but do give some good rounds of pepper.

  • Another step for food snobs to cringe at: Crumble 1 teaspoon--oh heck, make that a tablespoon--of chicken boullion on top of your bird.

  • If you and your best friend had decided to have martinis instead of red wine whilst peeling, then pour half a cup of white vermouth over the chicken (leftover white wine will do nicely as well).

  • Here's the beauty part: Put the pan in the oven, take a half hour brisk walk or pleasant stroll (so many lovely choices in this recipe!) with your friend, come back and baste the bird.

  • As you polish off the first bottle of wine, surround the chicken with thick sticks of parnsips and/or fingerling potatoes that you have tossed with a little olive oil, salt, and ground pepper. You might also want to consider mashed potatoes made separately, which are particularly good if you're both singing the blues and need extra comfort/"carbonation."

  • Now you choose a record; maybe the two of you dance a little bit.

  • You don't even have to bother turning the chicken. Baste one or two more times, move the vegetable(s) around a bit, and roast all for approximately 1.5 hours total, letting another bottle of wine breathe as the sublime fragrance of the garlic makes you both salivate.

  • Take a photo of the beautifully browned creation with one of your camera phones and post it on Facebook or your blog. Then dig in. If you've made mashed potatoes (and remembered to mash them somewhere along the above steps), they are sublime with the roasted garlic cloves mixed in. And if you might have picked up a baguette on your walk, by all means dip it in the juices and smear the garlic on it.
Bon Appetit and Rock On!


  1. Sounds delicious; I will try this. I have a similar recipe called "Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic," proving once again that--you can never have too much garlic! In my recipe, you don't peel the garlic cloves; you roast them in their skins with the chicken and then squeeze them out over the rest of the food (including bread) when you eat the meal. A little messy, but tasty!