This recipe for roast chicken from jamieoliver.com was so interesting--it was such a unique mix of ingredients and flavors, but I thought it really worked. The sauce was delicious and unexpected. I also served this wheat berry dish from bonappetit.com, which has a great mix of leeks, shiitakes, pancetta, and grape tomatoes. Regular white mushrooms would be fine in it instead of the shiitakes, as would a slice or two of crumbled bacon instead of pancetta. I tossed a simple salad of arugula, grape tomatoes, chèvre, and pepitas with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Roast Chicken in Milk
1 4-pound chicken, preferably organic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 handful of fresh sage
Zest of 2 lemons
10 cloves of garlic, skin left on
2 cups 1% milk
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. In a snug-fitting pot, fry the chicken in the butter and olive oil until golden, turning to get an even color all over. Remove from heat, put the chicken on a plate, and drain and discard the excess oil and butter left in the pot.
Put the chicken back in the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and cook in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, basting with the cooking sauce occasionally.
Pull the meat off the bones and divide onto plates. Serve with the milky sauce from the roasting pan.
Makes 6 servings.
Wheat Berries with Leeks and Shiitakes
1 1/2 cups dried wheat berries
2 ounces pancetta, diced
2 cups chopped leeks (from 2 large leeks; white and pale green parts only)
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, caps sliced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cook wheat berries in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, about 55 minutes. Drain.
Cook pancetta in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Add leeks to drippings in skillet; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms; stir until soft, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and oil; stir 1 minute. Add wheat berries and stir until heated through. Mix in pancetta and cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
Makes 6 servings.