Apparently I’m emotionally attached to my grey scarf. I say apparently because this was totally unbeknownst to me until I couldn’t find it the other day. If you’ve ever been around me when the weather’s chilly, you’ve likely seen that scarf around my neck. I wear it so much that it makes an appearance in nearly every other photo of me during cold weather.
Well, I didn’t realize how much it meant to me until it went missing last week, which I guess is the reality of life. We don’t appreciate things until they’re gone. Lucky for me, I left the scarf in a sleepy cafe at one of the ferry stop towns on Puget Sound, so it was easy to retrieve. That might be a bit of an understatement, since I forced my younger brother to drive an hour out of the way just to pick it up. I then arrived at the cafe and they were convinced I was retrieveing a credit card because, in their defense, who would really be crazy enough to drive that far for a boring grey scarf, right?
Well, that scarf was one of the first things I bought when I moved abroad for culinary school so it’s been with me almost 10 years. At the time, I thought it was way more money than I should spend, but it was considered a “true pashmina.” Mind you this was that Sex In The City era wherein every girl wore a pashmina every two seconds, so, well, I splurged. It went from a special occasion scarf to an everyday scarf long ago, and has more memories wrapped up in it than I realized. And it’s an instant form of comfort that I all but overlooked until it went missing.
The same can be said for home cooked meals. After visiting 11 cities in less than 30 days, countless trips to the airport, and lots of missed or late night meals, I wasn’t truly aware of how much I needed a home cooked meal. That is until I got just enough time at home to make a classic roast chicken. The roast chicken is so simultaneously humble yet perfect when done right that I never get tired of it. I’ll sear it in cast iron for a quick meal, slow roast it for a Sunday dinner, or slather it with spices for something easy like this recipe here. And though it’s just as simple as that grey scarf, it’s something I never tire of.
Smoked Paprika and Oregano Roast Chicken Recipe
- Makes: 4 to 6 servings
- Total Time: 90 minutes plus marinating time
- Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
- 1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chicken
- 2 tablespoons canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil
- Juice of 2 limes (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons ground smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 6 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil, divided
- 2 medium yellow onions, sliced into 1-inch rings
- 1 1/2 pounds assorted fingerling potatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Remove necks and any innards from the cavities and discard. To spatchcock, use a sharp pair of poultry shears or kitchen scissors to cut along the backbone; remove and discard. Place chicken, breast-side up, and press down to flatten it so it is lying completely flat.
Combine oil, lime juice, soy, paprika, cumin, oregano, garlic and 1 tablespoon of the salt in a bowl and mix until thoroughly moistened. Rub half the mixture under the skin of the chicken getting under the breasts, thighs, and legs. Then rub 1 tablespoon of oil all over the skin on the outside.
Heat oven to 450°F and arrange rack in the middle. In a medium bowl toss the onions and potatoes with the remaining paste, remaining oil, and remaining salt. Set aside while oven heats up, at least 20 minutes. (Alternatively, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before roasting. Be sure to let the chicken rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before roasting so it cooks evenly.)
Arrange onions and potatoes in the bottom of a a roasting pan or large baking dish. Place chicken on top, and roast until the thigh meat is no longer pink and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165°F, about 50 minutes. Let sit at least 10 minutes before carving. Garnish chicken with oregano, and serve with onions, potatoes, and a spoonful of the pan juices.