A Monday Valentine’s Dinner

Many will do their Valentine’s celebrations this weekend but if you don’t get around to it, or if you don’t even care for Valentine’s, here is a simple Monday dinner to prepare. A whole golden roasted chicken on the table makes it a feast and there is the sensual element of picking at the bits of meat. Roast potatoes make it grand enough and I don’t see any reason to bother with additional vegetables.
The chicken need to be of good quality to get the bits of fat from the inside of the breast cavity needed for this technique which I learned from Nigella Lawson’s Schmalzy Chicken recipe. Once you have oiled and seasoned the bird you can either truss the bird so the wings are tucked in or plan on strategically placing your potatoes around the bird so that the same effect is achieved.
There is a lot of garlic here which might turn some people off but garlic has long been considered to have aphrodisiac qualities. Also if you both eat some then you’re on even ground.
For dessert here is Susan Spungen’s little-black-dress cake, a delicious simple cake that doesn’t require the additional step of frosting. The instructions say to use a wooden spoon for creaming the butter and sugar, but a standing mixer with a paddle does the job quicker. Be aware that the cake will go from not cracked at all to cracked in no time so keep an eye on it toward the end.

Roast Chicken with Garlic and Rosemary and Potatoes

1 whole free range chicken
2 russet potatoes
10 cloves of garlic with skin on
1/2 lemon
Olive oil

Boil a large pot of salted water. Heat oven to 450F.
Peel and slice potatoes into triangular slices about two inches across thickest bit. Place in a large bowl of cold water and rinse until water is no longer cloudy. Rinse and put in boiling water. Boil for 4 minutes. Drain in colander and put back into pot. Cover with lid and shake pot so edges of potato break up. Take off lid so potatoes can continue to dry.
Remove fat from inside chicken cavity. Place over medium heat in small saucepan and cook until it releases all of its fat and you are left with the crispy bits of grieben, which if you are adventurous you can eat, or just stick it back in the chicken’s cavity.
While the fat is melting cover the bottom of a roasting pan with a generous coating of olive oil and place it in the oven. Allow it to get hot but not smoke.
Rub olive oil, salt, and pepper inside the chicken. Stuff with four cloves of garlic, 3 sprigs of rosemary, and the lemon half. Rub the outside of the bird both over and under the skin with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Place the chicken in the middle. Surround with potatoes, garlic, and rosemary. Put the hot melted fat over the chicken. Cook for fifteen minutes. Baste. Turn oven temperature down to 375F. Baste every fifteen minutes. It should take about 1 hour. If the chicken is finished before the potatoes are nice and golden remove it from the pan and finish the potatoes. Immediately salt potatoes when they are finished. Let the chicken rest in a tent of foil for 15 minutes before slicing.

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