Roast Chicken in Porchetta

Mindy Fox’s killer cookbook “A Bird in the Oven and Then Some” comes through again in a big way. Her Roast Chicken in Porchetta is stuffed with lots of garlic and herbs and a very nice helping of fennel pollen, which gives it that “Hmm, what was that?” flavor. Another Mindy trick? Coarse salt on the bird. And lots of it.

The Roast Chicken in Porchettata is not actually porchetta — there’s no pork. It’s just done “in the style of porchetta,” meaning lots of flavor. And believe me, there is.

First thing, gather your herbs and spices: garlic, sage, fennel pollen, rosemary and thyme.

Then mix with softened butter.

Here are my chickens, from Stone Barns.

Loosen the skin around the breasts and thighs by sticking your fingers under the skin:

Then take about a tablespoon at a time of the butter and slip it under the skin:

I cut up a bunch of vegetables to cook underneath the chicken. You, too, can do that. I had carrots, parsnips, potatoes and brussels sprouts.

When it comes out? Yum.


Roast Chicken in Porchettata
By Mindy Fox in A Bird in the Oven

I have doubled the recipe here, because we never make just one chicken. If you do make one chicken, half the following ingredients. Also, I prefer to start my roast chicken breast side down and then flip it, so I’m adapting Mindy’s roasting instructions below.

2 (4-pound) chicken
8 tablespoons butter at room temperature
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons wild fennel pollen
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme leaves
Flakey coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 with the rack in the middle. Pull off excess fat around the cavities of the bird, then rinse the chicken and pat dry. From the edge of the cavity, slip a finger under the skin of the breasts, then use your fingers to gently but thoroughly loosen the skin from the meat of the breasts and thighs.

In a bowl, mix together the butter, garlic, sage, fennel pollen, rosemary and thyme.

Using your hands and working with about 1 tablespoon of the butter mixture at a time, gently push the mixture into the spaces you created between the chicken skin and the meat, being careful not to tear the skin. As you work the mixture in, gently rub your hand over the outside of the skin to smooth out the mixture and push it further down between the skin where you may not be able to reach with your hand. Tie together the legs with kitchen string. Season the chicken all over the outside, using 1 tablespoon coarse salt and generous pepper.

If you prefer to try Mindy’s method: Put a roasting pan (not nonstick) 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish in the oven to heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately put the chicken in the pan, breast-side up. Roast for 35 minutes, then rotate the pan and reduce the heat to 375. Continue roasting, basting with juices occasionally, until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a fork or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh readers 165, 25 to 35 minutes more. Remove the bird from the oven and let it rest in the pan 15 minutes, then basted with the juices.

If you prefer to try my method: Place the two chickens, breast side down, into a V-rack inserted into a roasting pan. If you do not have a V-rack, cut the necks that come with the chicken into three pieces and place them on the roasting pan. Rest the chickens on top of them. Roast for 30 minutes, then flip the birds breast side up. Turn the oven down to 350 and roast for 45 minutes more until the skin is golden brown and taut and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes, then carve and serve with the pan juices and extra salt for sprinkling.


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