Roast Chicken and Brussels Sprouts?
I know! My very first blog post and it’s not tamales…. it’s a roast chicken! We had meetings. We discussed. We went back and forth. Chiles Rellenos? Chilaquiles? Capirotada? Enchiladas, maybe? But no, I landed on a roast chicken. With brussels sprouts.
Now, all of those recipes are coming, I promise (at this point, we have tested and photographed enough recipes to last until next summer!). But the whole point of this blog was to just be honest about what I cook at home. And the honest truth is, that doesn’t always include chipotles.
Roast chicken, though, is a relatively new dish in my life. My mom would purchase rotisserie chicken which came with fresh corn tortillas, salsa, avocado and other traditional taco garnishes from a place down the street from our home in Tijuana but she NEVER roasted a chicken at home. Ever. It’s funny because it wasn’t until I was on a call with research and development to discuss the tendencies of the Mexican viewing audience for a cooking show I’ve been working on, that I realized that we rarely turned on the oven. When I was discussing possible recipes and ideas I mentioned a lot of roasted dishes because it’s my preferred cooking method at home and they politely reminded me of the fact that most Mexican ovens are used for storage.
Now, I can’t generalize but, after thinking about it, I realized that nothing was ever roasted for a savory meal. My mom loved baking so she did make plenty of cakes, but no weeknight meal or poultry or beef ever came from the oven. When we were older and my dad discovered his love of prime rib… that’s the only time it would get turned on. And even then, it was always at one of his gatherings on the weekends, and always cooked by Pedro, the man who came to prepare our meals when my mom simply became too tired to cook (more on her illness, perhaps, in another post…). But that’s it.
I, on the other hand, turn on my oven almost every other day. I love the slow, natural caramelization of sugars in vegetables. I love being able to roast moist chickens instead of the dry rotisserie from the market we used to use for tacos. I love spreading salmon filets with herb and garlic oil, having them come out succulent after just a few minutes. But I didn’t grow up on any of this!
So we can catalog this recipe in the De La Luz-California-Mexican-by-Marcela recipes file and call it a day. And I might as well confess now, there’re plenty of non-Mexican recipes coming. Also, don’t hesitate to tell me what recipes you’d like to see! Although for the most part I’ll only post things that I would serve my friends and family, I’m always willing to experiment with something new. So please head down to the comments section and leave me a note… and then head to the market to get some chicken and brussels sprouts. Enjoy!
Garden-herb Roast Chicken with Brussels Sprouts
4 servings (or maybe 2 if you eat as much as Philip and I; we usually roast two chickens for the family, using leftovers for flautas the next day)
1 roasting chicken (about 6 pounds), giblets removed, rinsed and patted dry
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 minced garlic cloves
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (I’ll use whatever I find in the garden, a combo of things like rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, basil…)
tablespoon fresh lime zest
2 pounds brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
1 shallot, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 450F.
In a medium bowl, mix butter 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, garlic, herbs and lime zest until well combined. Season heavily with salt and pepper.
Rub butter mixture all over the chicken and carefully spread some under the skin of the chicken as well. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. And set aside.
Mix brussles sprouts, shallots, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper in roasting pan. Flatten as best you can and top with a roasting rack. Place chicken, breast-side-up, on roasting pan. I like to make slits between the leg and the breast so because that area takes the longest to cook but it makes for a weird looking, leg-spread chicken so that’s optional.
Roast chicken until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 160F, about 1 hour, checking and tossing brussels sprouts if beginning to brown. When done, let stand 10 minutes loosely covered with foil. Transfer chicken to platter and serve with brussels sprouts.