I have another Sunday off, and you know what that means: Sunday dinner! Today was a rosemary-orange roast chicken, plus a spinach salad with orange-chipotle vinaigrette, and angel biscuits. The trick to a really good roast chicken is to use an air-chilled chicken, rather than a typical water-cooled one. This means the chicken has been flash-frozen using a blast of cold air, rather than being dipped in a water solution and then frozen. It also means that the chicken cooks faster, leaving it moister. I know it sounds silly that adding moisture would result in a drier bird, but trust me–a shorter cook time yields more moisture.
Orange-Rosemary Roast Chicken
1 air-chilled whole chicken (roughly 4 lbs or so)
2 sprigs rosemary
1/2 large orange
1/2 small onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
Preheat your oven to 400F. Give the chicken a quick rinse. Cut the orange half and the onion half into quarters, and put into the cavity of the chicken along with a cracked garlic clove and the rosemary. Rub the outside of the chicken down with the olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
If you have a roasting pan with a rack, that would be ideal. I didn’t, so instead, I put a couple of balls of aluminum foil into the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking pan and set the chicken up onto that. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes at 400F, then turn it down to 350F and roast for an additional 20 minutes per pound or so. Take it out of the oven, tent some aluminum foil over it, and let it rest for 10-15 minutes–I timed it alongside the baking angel biscuits. Should serve 4-6; we made it dinner, plus chicken salad to eat over the next couple of days.
Spinach Salad with Orange-Chipotle Vinaigrette
1/2 bag baby spinach (maybe 2 cups or so)
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 plum tomato
Zest and juice of 1 large orange
2 chipotles in adobo
1 medium clove garlic
3/4 c. olive oil
Combine the orange zest and juice, the chipotles, the garlic, and half the chopped onion in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until blended. Add the olive oil, a little at a time, pulsing well before each addition.
Combine the spinach, the rest of the onion, and the tomato. Add the vinaigrette to taste and toss to coat. Serves 2 with lots of dressing left over. You can add croutons, bacon, cheese, whatever, but this is the basic version. Feel free to get fancy with it if you want.