Chicken Baked in Wild Grasses
- SERVINGS: 8
Wild grasses mixed with herbs flavor the chicken and keep it moist. You can use extra parsley and chives instead.
- One 8-pound roasting chicken
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups (loosely packed) rye grass or clover
- 2 cups mixed herbs, such as mint, sage and thyme, preferably wild
- 4 large romaine lettuce leaves
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2 parsnips, coarsely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/2 cup dried sour cherries (about 2 ounces)
- 1 cup unsweetened cherry juice or apple cider
- 1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Fold the wing tips under the chicken. Pack the grass and herbs over the breast and drumsticks of the chicken and cover with the lettuce leaves. Starting behind the wings, crisscross cotton kitchen string over the lettuce and around the legs to secure the aromatics.
- In a roasting pan, combine the carrots, parsnips, celery and onion. Add the canola oil and toss well. Set the chicken, breast side up, on the vegetables and roast for about 3 1/2 hours, or until the inner thigh juices run clear. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the cherries and cherry juice and boil until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, boil the chicken stock over high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the reduced chicken stock to the dried cherries.
- Strain the chicken pan juices into a glass measuring cup. Set the roasting pan over 2 burners. Add the bourbon and simmer over moderately low heat, scraping up the browned bits, until the bourbon has reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Skim the fat from the chicken pan juices and add them to the cherry sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.
- Cut the string from the chicken and discard the lettuce, grass and herbs; leave any herbs that stick to the skin. Carve the chicken and arrange on a platter. Pass the cherry sauce at the table.
The infusion of herbs and grass into the meat makes this a perfect candidate for a Washington State Syrah.
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