Easter Dinner

I hope Easter was as yummy and beautiful for all of you as ours was. Originally, I had planned to grill chicken, but the weather was rainy all weekend, finally clearing up just as we sat down to dinner. Instead, I roasted a whole chicken – my first time. I don’t know why I’ve never done it before. It turned out really moist and flavorful. I figured that if I can handle a turkey, a chicken would be a cinch. And it was!
Logan has been asking to buy flowers lately when we go to Costco, so Saturday afternoon Logan and I made a tulip arrangement surrounded by spring colored votives in small pyrex cups to add some pretty to our table. Around the vase I added a bit of ribbon that is backed with tape. A quick, pretty arrangement for our Easter table. Served with the roasted chicken we had roasted baby red potatoes, dinner rolls, red leaf lettuce salad with blackberries, pears, red onion, and asparagus and a pear vinaigrette dressing. Dessert was a blackberry lemon trifle.

Basil Garlic Roasted Chicken
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Chicken

  • 4 lb. Whole Chicken, giblets removed
  • 1/2 c kosher salt
  • 2 c hot water
  • 10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 c fresh basil (packed), chopped
  • 1 1/2 quarts cold water
  • 1/2 lemon

Garlic-Lemon-Basil Paste

  • 2-3 Tbs minced fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs softened butter
  • zest of 1 lemon
Combine the salt, garlic, basil and hot water in a large bowl or stockpot. Let stand 20 minutes to release flavors. Add cold water and stir until salt has dissolved. Place chicken in a gallon sized freezer Ziploc bag. Pour brine in. Seal the top and then place bag in another bag to make it more sturdy. Refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the garlic-basil-lemon paste. Combine all ingredients until a smooth paste is formed. Set aside at room temperature.

After chicken has finished brining, pat dry with paper towels. Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 450 degrees F. Set a V-rack in a small roasting pan and lightly grease the rack with nonstick cooking spray.

Rub the paste inside the cavity of the chicken and underneath the skin over the breast and thigh on each side. Place lemon half inside the cavity. Tie the ends of the drumsticks together with kitchen twin and tuck the winds behind the back. Brush all sides of the chicken with 2 tsp of oil and season with pepper. Place chicken breast-side down on the rack and roast 20 minutes.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven; decrease the temperature to 375 degrees F. Using tongs or paper towels, rotate chicken to breast side up. Brush breast with 1 tsp oil and season with pepper. Add 1 cup of broth and 1/2 c water to the pan and continue to roast until the chicken is golden and a thermometer reads 160 degrees at the thickest portion of the breast and 170 at the thigh, about 20-40 minutes. Add more water to the roasting pan if the juices evaporate.

Place chicken on a large plate and allow to rest as you make gravy from the drippings in the pan.