Inspired by her surroundings in Colorado, Illona Oppenheim shares her beautiful and simple recipes and photographs in her book "Savor Rustic Recipes Inspired by Forest, Field, and Farm." The ultimate in land-to-table dining, each meal is carefully crafted for optimal pleasure. Oppenheim writes, "The freshest chickens come
straight from the farm, but you can also get a pastured chicken at better
supermarkets. This roasted chicken can be served directly from the pan, where
it's cooked with lots of lemon, garlic, and shallots. Spoon the caramelized
shallots and sweet roasted garlic over the top."
RECIPE: Roasted Chicken
One 4-pound pasture-raised
3 fresh rosemary sprigs,
6 fresh thyme sprigs,
6 fresh parsley sprigs,
3 tablespoons unsalted
butter, at room temperature
Fine sea salt and freshly
ground black pepper
2 heads of garlic, tops
cut off, plus 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 4 lemons, cut in half
3 tablespoons ghee (recipe
8 shallots, peeled and cut
Preheat the oven to
Remove the giblets from
the cavity of the chicken; discard or save them to make broth or gravy. Rinse
the chicken inside and out and dry with paper towels. Tuck the wings under the
bird and truss the legs to keep them from drying out.
In a small bowl, use a
fork to mash together half the rosemary, thyme, and parsley with the butter and
season with ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper.
Starting at the neck
cavity, gently loosen the skin from the breasts and drumsticks; slide the
butter mixture under the skin.
Combine the 3 finely
chopped garlic cloves and the juice from 2 of the lemon halves in a small bowl.
Rub the mixture inside the cavity and on the outside of the chicken. Stuff the
remaining herbs into the cavity and season the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and
¼ teaspoon pepper.
On the stove over low
heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the ghee in an extra-large ovenproof roasting pan.
Add the shallots, cut side down, cover, and fry for 3 minutes. Add the
remaining lemon halves and the garlic heads, cut side down, cover the pan, and
fry for another 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables and lemons and set aside.
Raise the heat to
medium-high and add the remaining tablespoon ghee to the pan. Add the chicken,
breast side up, and brown it, about 2 minutes. Turn it over and brown it for
another 2 minutes. Return the vegetables and lemons to the pan. Place the pan
in the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Flip the chicken so the breast is up. Cook until the juice runs clear, about
another 40 minutes. Let the chicken rest at room temperature for 10 minutes
before carving. Transfer the chicken to a large platter. Squeeze the lemon
halves over the chicken and spoon the garlic and shallots around the chicken
Yields: About 1¾ cups
Ghee is a type of
clarified butter traditionally used in Indian cooking. Due to its high smoke
point, it is great for high-temperature cooking and is a good alternative to
vegetable oils. The process of making ghee is similar to that for clarified
butter, but the butter is cooked for a longer time alongside the milk solids,
which gives it that great nutty taste. Ghee is the butterfat that is left over
after the water and milk solids are removed from the butter.
1 pound (4 sticks)
high-quality unsalted butter
Cut the butter into
squares and place in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then
reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the butter. After about 8 minutes,
when the foam subsides and the butter turns a golden color, start stirring as
it continues to simmer. When the butter foams a second time, after another 8
minutes, turn off the heat.
Let the butter cool
down for a couple of minutes. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and set it over a
bowl. Strain the butter through the cheesecloth. Discard the milk solids that
remain in the cheesecloth.
Store the ghee in an
airtight container at room temperature for up to3 months. (Removing the milk solids inhibits spoilage, so it is okay to store
at room temperature.) If you store it in the refrigerator, you can keep it for
up to 1 year.