pesto-crusted roasted chicken (part 1)


Please don't yawn.  I know this is my second post on roasted chicken in less that a month.  I was ever so slightly traumatized while talking to a friend who told me that she had followed my first post on roasted chicken and was disappointed that there wasn't much of a sauce. I wasn't even thinking about a sauce when I posted the recipe!  I was more thinking about the chicken...how easy it is to cook it properly, keep it moist, etc, etc.  You can easily make a pan sauce (au jus)  by removing the chickens and veggies from the (flame proof) roasting pan, pour off some fat, deglaze the pan with some wine and add some chicken stock.  Reduce a little and salt and pepper to taste.  There.  I feel better now. SO here is ANOTHER way to cook a whole chicken.  I had a nice stash of homemade pesto in the freezer from my summer bounty  so thought best to go in that direction. You can easily do this with whatever chicken-related herbs you have on hand, about 2/3 cup worth, chopped finely and mixed with 1/2 cup or so of olive oil, salt and pepper to make your own little paste.

The results, well, are pretty amazing.  If you go to the trouble of prepping chicken this way, very little trouble by the way, you may never go back.  You will have a lovely, well-cooked bird that has made it's own damn sauce.  This one is for you NH.

pesto-crusted roasted chicken

2 organic chickens, about 3 1/2 lbs each


2 large sweet onions, sliced in rings

Preheat oven to 425°

Make a bed of onion rings for your chickens to sit on in a roasting pan.

Sit your chickens on the onions and gently start to loosen the skin from the breast with your fingers.  There will be some connective tissue that you will want to snip away with your kitchen sheers.  Gently, slowly, after you have snipped the tissue, loosen the skin taking great care not to break it.  You can even reach into the connective tissue around the legs and create some space there as well.

Mound about 1/3 cup or so of pesto under the skin and push around over the breast and into the legs, adding as much pesto as needed to lightly cover.  Rub some additional pesto all over the exterior of the chickens, truss and you are good to go.  Roast them for about an hour, until they reach 165º.  Rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.