Sunday, July 8, 2012

Roast Chickens with Pistachio Salsa, Peppers, and Corn

We have a summer calendar dominated by weddings. So this means going on various forms of travel across the country. Lots of travel means lots of time to distract myself with books and pretty magazines. And I'm okay with that. Really I feel like I haven't had that much time to just read for fun anyway, so this break gives me an excuse to do so.

Our latest wedding was in New York City. I have a lot of friends and family who live there, so I never mind the trip. From DC it takes about 4 hours by bus, so the rides away meant plenty of time for doing some reading. I have previously extolled the virtues of Bon Appétit's Kindle app, but I never seem to have time to read it. So it was nice to be able to catch up on about 3 months worth of issues. In one of the issues, I came across an herbed chicken recipe that sounded like it could be make a good dinner. Plus, the pictures were gorgeous. And pretty pictures makes EVERYTHING look better! I tried to make mine look as good, but yeah, I guess I have to admit I'm not quite BA level photography hah.

Paired with quick sweet sautéed peppers, fresh crunch corn and a pistachio salsa, it sounded like an interesting combination. Additionally, I still seek to master the art of roasting a chicken. I've done pretty good attempts before, but the crispy skin part eluded me. I have to say, following this recipe (although forgot the whole garlic part for the marinade, but meh it's all good) produced crispy skin and extremely tender and juicy chicken. I will absolutely replicate the chicken again. When I had removed the chicken the chicken from the oven, I tore off a piece of the skin, ran into the other room and excitedly gave it to Brett. I had done it! Look! Crispy! I don't know if he was really as excited about it as I was, but remarked that it was good and turned his attention back to his iPad. Maybe I should just give it next time to little buddy, I know he would have licked his chomps and begged for more.

I will note that while I LOVED the chicken and the peppers, I wasn't a huge huge fan of the pistachio salsa. But I'm not a huge nuts fan in the first place. I know, I know, that's sacrilege. But it's just me. HOWEVER, I'll also note that Brett did really like the salsa. And he loves him some pistachios. I think omitting the salsa wouldn't have really detracted all that much either. Although it sure is pretty. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the recipe and thanks to BA for the recipe!

Adapted from Bon Appétit (some slight changes made)


1/4 C fresh lemon juice
1/4 C olive oil
3 T chopped fresh thyme leaves plus sprigs for stuffing
2 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 T chopped fresh sage
2 2 1/2–3-pound whole chickens
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon

Peppers and Corn
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 C minced red onion
1/4 C minced capers plus 1–2 t caper brine
Kosher salt
5 large bell peppers (of any color)
4 ears of corn
2 T red wine vinegar

Pistachio Salsa
1 C unsalted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/2 T minced red onion
2 T lime zest
1 t kosher salt
1 C extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the lemon juice, oil, rosemary, thyme and sage.

Season the chickens with salt and pepper inside and out. Put the chickens in a large Ziplock bag (each chicken gets a bag) and divide the marinade evenly. Use your hands to help distribute the marinade. Leave to marinate for at least four hours, but eight would be better. I wouldn't recommend overnight, as lemon juice and its acidity can ruin the chicken flesh.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Remove the chickens from the bags and put on a roasting pan, if you have one, or on a baking sheet if need be. If you have any grates, it would be good to have them on the grate to leave them slightly elevated. That's what I do, because while I have a roasting pan, I've had to leave it at my parents house. Room is tight around here. Blot away any of the excess oil with paper towels. Stuff each chicken with a lemon half and several thyme sprigs.

Roast the chickens at 450° until well browned, about 30–35 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350° and continue roasting, occasionally basting chickens with pan juices, for about another 25 minutes, or until the temp inside the chicken is 165°.

After the chicken is in the oven, make the pistachio salsa first. Mince the onion that will be used for the salsa and the peppers. Chop the pistachios roughly.

Combine all the ingredients and chill until you take the chicken out of the oven.

Prep the ingredients for the peppers. Mince the onion and slice the peppers.

In a large pan heat up the olive oil. Add the red pepper flakes first for about two minutes, allowing the flakes to flavor the oil.

Add the onion and capers.

Cook until the onion is soft, about five minutes. Add the peppers and cook until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the salt and pepper.

While the peppers cook, strip the corn from the ears and combine the brine, corn and vinegar in a bowl.

When the peppers are soft add the corn to the mix and combine for about two minutes. Lower the heat to low or remove from heat until everything else has been prepared.

Once the chickens are done, transfer to a cutting board and let sit for at least 20 minutes. This will help to keep the juices in the chicken. Carve too early, you'll lose the juice that keeps the meat tender.

While the chickens rest, take the pistachio salsa out of the fridge to allow to come to room temp.

Serve everything together and enjoy!