On the one hand, I adore spices with a kick, on the other hand, dill is my least favorite herb—although it’s been gaining my affections recently. So when I came across this Aleppo Pepper and Dill Roast Chicken by Geoffrey Zakarian, it gave me pause. Then after reading the list of other ingredients, I confidently added it to that weeknights meal rotation.
Yes, you can make it on a weeknight, keeping in mind that the chicken needs to roast at least an hour, then rest for 25 minutes (although I believe you could shorten that time frame to 15 minutes). Then, while it cooks and rests, you’re free to do other things. The poultry roasts on a bed of potatoes and fennel, while the Aleppo pepper, herbs, and butter melt into the vegetables, flavoring them and making them downright irresistible, seriously.
When it came time to make the butter mixture, I found it a bit difficult to blend it with a spatula until well-combined so I threw the ingredients into a small food processor. But then I had a heck of time rubbing the mixture all over the bird resulting in lumpy patches, which as the butter melted left clumps of herbs clinging to the skin. Thus the skin was not rendered as crispy as we would have preferred. But damn, it tasted good!
To me, that was a LOT of butter mixture and we had quite a bit leftover so you may want to cut it back by only using 8 ounces of butter and 1/3 less of the other ingredients. And how about a wedge salad on the side? I mean, when was the last time you indulged in one of those babies?
Aleppo Pepper and Dill Roast Chicken
- 1 3- to 3-1/2-lb. whole chicken
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 oz. (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 Tbs. lemon zest, from 2 medium lemons
- 1-1/2 Tbs. Aleppo pepper
- 1 Tbs. minced garlic
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 2 lb. small new potatoes, halved
- 1 medium fennel bulb, cut into 8 wedges, core intact (about 1 lb.)
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and heat the oven to 375°F.
- Pat the chicken dry inside and out with paper towels. Season the cavity with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Tuck the wings behind the back, and truss the legs with kitchen twine.
- Put the butter, zest, Aleppo pepper, garlic, and chopped herbs in a medium bowl, and blend with a silicone spatula until well combined. (Or use a mini food processor.)
- Reserve 1/4 cup of the butter mixture. Rub the rest over the chicken, and season with 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the potatoes and fennel with the oil, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Pour the vegetables into a medium roasting pan.
- Put the chicken breast side up on top of the vegetables. Transfer to the oven, and roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F in the thickest part of the thigh and the chicken is golden-brown, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. If the chicken browns too quickly, tent loosely with foil.
- Remove the chicken from the oven, tent with foil, and let rest for 25 minutes. Season the vegetables to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the carved chicken and vegetables with the reserved butter.
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