Note that a few of the pieces of bread under the bird goes overly tender during the roast. Use it, lose it, or spread those pieces out on a sheet pan and send them right back into the oven to toast up. I often ask the butcher to spatchcock the chicken for me (remove the back); if not, I do it myself with sharp kitchen shears. Save the backs in a bag in the freezer for stock-making. For the bread, homemade garlic butter glazed talami, day-old, is perfection.
SERVINGS: 6 RECIPE BY: MAUREEN ABOOD
FOR THE CHICKEN AND CROUTONS:
1 loaf country bread, cut in 1-inch cubes and dried out a bit in the oven or at room temp, enough for 6 cups
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for basting the bird
1/2 cup chicken stock
granulated garlic powder
freshly ground black pepper
1 3-4 lb. chicken, back removed, patted dry
FOR THE FATTOUSH:
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
1 small garlic clove, minced or grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons Garlic Mint Salt or crushed dried mint
2 teaspoons sumac
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 hearts of romaine, chopped or torn, kept chilled until just before serving
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2-3 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced in half-moons
10 fresh mint leaves, chopped or torn
ROAST THE CHICKEN AND CROUTONS:
1. Place the oven rack in the center and heat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a enameled cast iron roaster or similar roasting pan just a little bigger than the chicken, toss the bread cubes with the olive oil and half of the chicken broth, then season lightly with granulated garlic, salt, and pepper. Arrange the bread in a single layer.
3. Without trimming any of the extra skin/fat away, lay the chicken, breast side facing up, over the bread. Season the chicken generously with granulated garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika.
4. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Brush the chicken with olive oil and add the remaining chicken stock to the pan. Continue roasting for another 30 minutes, or until a thermometer reads just under 165 degrees in several spots.
5. After removing the chicken from the oven, transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest, and scrape the croutons from the bottom of the roasting pan with a thin metal spatula.
MAKE THE FATTOUSH:
1. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, garlic, salt, mint salt or dried mint, and olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. In a large salad bowl, toss the romaine, tomatoes, onion, and radishes with the vinaigrette.
2. Carve the chicken breast, legs, and thighs and lay them on a warm platter. Add the croutons to the fattoush and toss to combine.
3. Serve immediately, with the chicken on the side or plated atop the fattoush.
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