I’m always looking for tasty ways to prepare chicken without having to resort to dumping a whole bunch of some random jarred sauce on top right before sticking it in the oven. No offense to the jarred sauces of the world at all; I am rather fond of many of them. But I also like very simple recipes that bring forth the natural flavors of the foods I’m cooking. In my Drunken Game Hens post, I talked about how to make some very flavorful, tender, and juicy game hens with a recipe that can also be used for regular chicken or chicken pieces. This particular recipe does the same, only with the help of a very simple marinade and lots of herbs.
Though I prepared this using a pack of leg & thigh quarters I’d picked on sale, this is also a fabulous way to prepare a whole chicken. Whole chickens may seem a little on the pricey side upon purchase, but their value definitely makes up for the cost. As I’d mentioned in the Drunken Game Hen post, rotisserie chickens sold at grocery stores now run about $7-8 per small bird. Pay about $1 more and you can get a much larger chicken that will yield more servings. The beauty of this recipe – besides the fact that it makes your entire kitchen smell amazing – is that you can use the finished product in a variety of recipes. Using leg quarters as I did (or breast/wing quarters if you prefer) you can build an entire Mediterranean themed meal, serving a nice piece of the chicken along with a crisp salad, some lentils, or perhaps some tabbouleh, and some warm pita bread. If roasting a whole chicken to use the meat in other recipes, the breast meat makes for a wonderful, tender base for salads or soups. The possibilities are endless, so definitely keep this as another one of your basic recipes to have on hand for most occasions.
It’s best to plan this recipe, as the chicken will taste much better when marinated for at least 24 hours. When it comes to the herbs you use for this if you have access to fresh herbs you should definitely use them! Except for the fresh rosemary (did I tell you guys they randomly planted some new stuff in our yard and I now have lavender and rosemary? Woohoo!), I used dried herbs when I prepared this and the flavor was just fantastic. I’m actually still learning about when to use fresh vs. dried herbs, but I think this is one of those situations when either version will work well. If you’re a garlic lover you will definitely love this, as the garlic is placed between the skin and the meat to really infuse the chicken with as much flavor as possible. Of course, if you’re watching your fat & calorie intake you should definitely remove the skin, but because the garlic was roasted inside, to begin with, you won’t miss an ounce of flavor. Other than that, there’s not much to note! This is a great, basic recipe, and goes deliciously with the spanakopita I will finally be posting this week. 🙂