Childhood roast chicken
I am person driven by traditions. By making them and preserving them. I love the idea of clean eating and here I don’t mean – vegetarian or vegan or raw, but eating products that are grown with the greatest passion and care and are of the best quality (and again, not expensive and overpriced but great quality). I love using natural products, eating honest food – comfort food during wintertime. Sometimes I wonder how we have come so far that we eat whatever there is, not respecting ourselves. We forget what real pure taste is, choosing synthetics instead.
Maybe I’m like this because during childhood, I lived in a small city where we we had local gardens, local produce, and lots of traditions, such as smoked chicken after a sauna on Fridays (heavy stuff, but still with the best memories) or sometimes a whole baked chicken with Georgian spices and crispy potatoes (again, heavy stuff) on Saturdays after everyone finished their baths. I loved those meals and although we do not make chicken every Saturday or have smoked chicken once a year, I’m making new, different traditions. But believe me – they all involve real food, cooking, long hours at the table and some wine, of course. So, this is my version of my childhood chicken – a bit different as there are no spices like that any more, but still – amazing and finger licking good.
1 chicken (around 2 kg)
40 ml grape seed oil
pinch of sea salt
1.5 tsp caraway seeds
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground fenugreek (if desired, but it adds great flavour)
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 heads garlic, peeled, divided in cloves
1 sprig rosemary
4 bay leaves
1 kg new potatoes, in large chunks
240 g canned white beans, drained
Heat the oven to 200°. Brush the chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt. Sprinkle with caraway, black pepper, fenugreek, coriander, and cayenne. Place half a clove of garlic in the cavity along with the rosemary and bay leaves. Place on a rack in a pan. Tie the chicken legs together and tuck the wings under the bird. Scatter the remaining cloves of garlic in the pan.
Reduce the oven heat to 180°, place the pan in the centre of the oven, and bake for 1 h. After an hour, remove the pan, stir the drippings, and add the potatoes to the pan. Return to the oven for 25 minutes, placing the pan one rack below the centre. Then remove the pan, add the beans, and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.
You can replace all the spices with khmeli suneli.
Recipe and pictures: Signe Meirane
Camera: Sony Alpha 7s