Witches’ Roasted Chicken

I love this time of year, where street fairs fill the weekends and there is a touch of mystery of the season, in the air. The leaves were cascading down from their branches and the overcast sky completed the scene as small crowds stopped at booths, that had decorative wooden witches and black cats embroidered on puffy woolen pillows. It was a little quiet this year but it must have been the chill in the air that kept everyone home. I have to admit, it was chilly and used that excuse for a hot cup of snicker doodle flavored coffee. (It was delicious.) And although we enjoyed ourselves, I couldn’t wait to get home and make a nice roasted chicken with fingerling potatoes and earthy shiitake mushrooms. The Halloween spirit got me in the mood to make a chicken that a true witch would approve of! lol The chicken is very juicy as it sits in the buttery porchini broth and gets basted with it and knobby-finger-looking-fingerling potatoes complete the meal! Serve with a red leaf lettuce salad tossed with an olive oil and pear balsamic vinaigrette. I added a touch of truffle oil to make it more special and it was delicious! This serves 4. Enjoy all!

  • 1 5 pound chicken
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, halved if too big
  • 4 tablespoons, unsalted butter
  • 1 porchini mushroom bouillon cube
  • 1 cup boiling hot water
  • 6 small garlic cloves, left in skin
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 whole purple basil leaves plus more for garnish, green basil is fine too!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. With a sharp knife, carefully cut down the back of the chicken, so you are able to open the chicken so it lays flat in the pan. You can cut down the other side and remove the entire back and reserve it for stock, if you like. (I ended up doing that and added cabbage, carrots, beans and scallions and it’s a nice way to start the meal, especially on a chilly autumn day.) If you feel uncomfortable cutting up the chicken, you can always ask the butcher to do it for you. After this last time, I think I’m going to invest in a nice pair of kitchen shears, to make this task easier. Lay your chicken down, skin side up, in a turkey roaster, or any pan big enough to hold the chicken, potatoes and mushrooms in one layer. Surround the chicken with the potatoes and garlic cloves. Dissolve the mushroom bouillon in the hot water and pour over the potatoes and garlic.

Divide 1 tablespoon of the butter into four pieces. Take your 4 basil leaves and stuff one under each of the legs and each of the breasts along with a piece of butter. Take 1 tablespoon and cut into small pieces. Top the chicken with the butter. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter to the potatoes. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, remove the pan and add the mushrooms. Baste the chicken, potatoes and mushrooms with the liquid from the bottom of the pan. Roast for another 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes is up, baste your chicken and vegetables again. Place back in the oven and roast for another 40 minutes. Remove your chicken and let it rest for 5 minutes, covered, before you carve it. (If you want more of a crispy skin, you can place the chicken under the broiler for a few minutes, watching it through the oven window, so it doesn’t burn.) Garnish with some strips of basil. The roasted garlic cloves taste delicious when spread on the potatoes or chicken!