Lime Roasted Chicken

Because my Tomato and Hearts of Palm Salad needed something sturdy to accompany it, I decided to make a roasted chicken. If you haven’t roasted a chicken in a while (or ever, for that matter) I am going to suggest you roll up your sleeves and give it a go. If you are feeling frenzied at work, are in need of feeling grounded, if you have even the tiniest bit of homemaker blood that needs to be indulged, (or if there is a hurricane in the forecast) I prescribe roasting a chicken.

Even with the recent movement toward awareness of the source of our food, I think many of us are still hesitant to see an animal in whole form. I know I am.  Now in the interest of full disclosure, I do get the willy nillies rinsing out the chicken and holding it under its arms (eek!) but I persevere. I envision Julia Child and all of the other wonderful cooks who “own” the ingredient and don’t shy away. I remind myself of how glorious it is to serve a roasted chicken on a platter and of the warm scents that will engulf the kitchen in no time. (Plus, I am being so economical! It is tremendously less expensive to buy a whole chicken as opposed to the individual parts.)

Call me wacko, but once I get past the willy nillies,  preparing the chicken makes me feel eerily connected to my ancestors. I think about the thousands (millions?) of women before me who prepared chickens for their families. Does anyone else feel this way when they cook? Maybe I am getting a bit deep here (I think having a baby might do that to a gal!) but the moral of the story is this: 

Roast a chicken. Then set the table and light the candles. Your family will love you and you will love you. It’s the food equivalent of giving yourself and everyone around you a big ole hug. 

This recipe yielded a tremendously juicy and flavorful bird. The lime flavor was subtle yet present. I served ours with coriander-dusted sweet potato wedges and of course Tomato and Hearts of Palm Salad over a bed of greens.

Lime Roasted Chicken:

  • 1 six pound chicken (or any size you’d like)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 limes cut in half and poked with a fork several times
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

The night prior to cooking, remove chicken from packaging. Remove giblets from cavity and dispose of them. Rinse chicken inside and out with cold  running water and then pat dry. Using clean hands rub paprika, salt, and peppers all over the chicken skin. Really rub them in. Place the lime halves inside the cavity of the bird. Place the bird in a large (freezer size) Ziploc bag and place in the fridge.

When you are ready to cook the chicken preheat the oven to 400 F. Place chicken breast side down in a roasting pan (on the rack). Drizzle with olive oil. Lower oven temperature to 350 F and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and flip the bird over. Return to the oven and continue to cook until internal temp reaches 180 F and juices run clear. (Note: cook at 350 F for approximately 20 minutes/pound.)

Remove from oven and let rest before carving. Pour juices from pan over sliced meat.

Inspired by The Food and Cooking of the Caribbean, Central and South America and 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know.

Tomato and Hearts of Palm Salad

I don’t think I have mentioned on this blog that while I was in college I did a mini term abroad to the island of Martinique.  While geographically in the Caribbean, Martinique is considered to be a “department of France.” While in Martinique I lived with a lovely host family and studied French, Creole, and the culture of the island. The trip was one the best experiences of my life, as I fell in love with the easy going pace of life that contained hints of what I love about France sans the often uptight rules and rigidity of French culture.

The reason I mention this is because last week I picked up a cookbook on sale at Boarder’s. The cover boasted it contained the best recipes of the Caribbean.  It was so cheap I didn’t think twice about the purchase and it was only when I got home that I realized what a great “find” I had picked up. Flipping through the pages of gorgeous photos reminded me of dishes I hadn’t thought about in years! I decided instantly to make the tomato and hearts of palm salad that was served regularly at the table of my host family in Martinique. It is a very simple salad that was served without much thought, sort of the way we might serve a mixed green salad with dinner.  It is easy to make last minute and is a delicious and healthy addition to any roast or sandwich. I served ours over a bed of greens along with Lime Roasted Chicken.

This was a fun way to bring the Caribbean to Boston during hurricane Irene! I was flooded with memories of my time on the island at first bite; the thick humid air, the smell of my host mother’s perfume, and the strong citrusy taste of Shrubb (a traditional liqueur made during the Christmas season).

Aren’t the powers of our senses incredible? The way that a single taste can induce a rush of memories is pretty amazing if you ask me. It ranks pretty high as one of my favorite reasons to cook.

Tomato and Hearts of Palm Salad:

  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1- 14 oz. can of hearts of palm
  • the juice of one lime
  • 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Slice tomatoes and arrange on serving platter.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over sliced tomatoes. Drain the can of hearts of palm. Cut them into 1/2 inch slices and arrange over tomatoes on platter.  Make the dressing by whisking lime juice, mustard, and oil in a bowl. Drizzle over salad.

Adapted from The Food and Cooking of the Caribbean, Central and South America.