Roasting chickens during pockets of spare time on the weekends pays huge dividends during busy weeks. A whole chicken can feed a lot of people, and for a family of two like ours, it lasts a few days. Plus, a roasted chicken can be repurposed for an endless number of dishes, including salad (page 148), sandwiches, mac and cheese . . . the possibilities are endless. In this nifty roast chicken, I lace the meat with green chutney and serve extra on the side for dunking.
[Ed. Note: hear recipe creator Nik Sharma talk about the multicultural influence on his food in this interview.]
Season by Nik Sharma
Put the chicken in a large roasting pan or baking dish. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Slip your fingers between the skin and flesh to loosen the skin. Massage 1/2 cup [125 g] of the chutney all over the meat, spreading to coat as evenly as possible. Rub generously with salt over the skin. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F [200°C]. Unwrap the chicken and pour the broth into the pan. Roast the chicken for at least 2 hours, basting it with the broth every 15 to 20 minutes, until the internal temperature registers 165°F [74°C] on an instant-read thermometer and the skin turns golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Tent loosely with foil and let sit for 10 minutes. (Collect any liquid left behind in the pan and cover and refrigerate or freeze for future use, such as soup.)
Serve the chicken warm with the remaining 1 cup [250 g] green chutney on the side for a dipping sauce.
You can flavor a whole chicken with almost any savory condiment or sauce you love. The trick is to keep the sauce between the skin and the flesh, because the layer of fat in the skin helps the chicken retain its moisture while the flavors in the marinade (green chutney, in this case) penetrate the flesh. The combination of spices and acid in the chutney helps tenderize the chicken and flavor it simultaneously. Basting the chicken with the drippings and broth ensures that the meat will be tender, juicy, and flavorful.
Hot Green Chutney
What started out as an idea to use leftover greens in the refrigerator quickly became one of the most versatile condiments in my kitchen. Fresh baby kale and peppery arugula leaves are transformed into a vibrant green chutney, with a few serrano chiles for a blast of heat. If you want your chutney even hotter, substitute fresh Thai chiles. I make this with baby kale, which is a little sweeter than regular kale. Use it as a dipping sauce for the or marinate a whole chicken in it before roasting.
Makes 2 cups [470 g]
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse on medium-low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until you get a coarse paste. You might need to stop the blender to move things around. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or up to 1 month in the freezer.
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