Sometimes a meal rolls around that during the smell leading up to it and while enjoying it all M and I can manage to do is keep repeating how completely awesome it is. We can’t seem to form one other singular thought. New. recipe. trance.
‘Top 3 for sure’ according to M. He put it right up there with this and this, which is no small accomplishment. A lot of ‘yums’ and ‘wows’ were also exchanged during the meal, on top of a lot of silence. Silence is always good. I love silence.
So what is all the fuss about? I was trying to focus on the best part of this recipe to highlight in my writing but there are just too many best parts.
Is it the way the bread crisps up that’s not too soft and not too hard? How about the way the tomatoes get to the point of just bursting so that some of their juice runs onto the bread and makes it softer but in a perfectly non soggy way?
Then there’s that skin on the chicken. Perfectly browned and crisp. Speaking of crispy, there’s that pancetta that sits down on top of the chicken and gives the whole dish an ever so slightly smokey flavor…
Let’s keep going. Roasted garlic cloves. What is better than spreading soft roasted garlic onto bites of bread and chicken? I sure can’t think of much. And let’s not forget those olives. I splurged – they were nice olives and totally worth it. Little hidden gems in this dish. Highlighted by the freshness and pretty pop of green color from the basil.
Do you see my problem here? Everything was perfect. This is the answer to your winter dinner party question. Put the big roasting tray on the table oh so rustic style along the side of a beautiful cheese platter and some chilled buttery Chardonnay. Look at how fancy you are.
Oh wait – it hit me. I knew I’d get there. The best part? L made about 90% of this meal as my hands were full of B. Yep, it’s that easy.
- 1 ciabatta loaf
- 2 big handfuls of cherry tomatoes
- 1 big handful of the best olives you can afford
- 1 big garlic bulb
- fresh basil
- one whole cut up fryer chicken
- good olive oil
- salt & pepper
- red chili flakes
- 8 slices of pancetta
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large roasting pan, rip up a ciabatta loaf and throw it in. Along with it goes two big handfuls of cherry tomatoes, one big handful of the best olives you can afford and one big garlic bulb broken into cloves, skin still on.
- Tear up some fresh basil and sprinkle throughout.
- Pat one whole cut up fryer chicken pieces as dry as possible and lay them on top of the roasted pan. (see picture)
- Over everything, pour a generous amount of good olive oil, salt & pepper, and a sprinkle of red chili flakes. Toss with your hands and then reposition chicken on top.
- Roast for 30 minutes. Remove and reposition chicken and roast another 30. Take out and place 8 slices of pancetta on top of the chicken skin and roast 15 minutes more.
- At this point your chicken will be cooked through. I switched the broiler on at the end to crisp up the pancetta and chicken skin a bit. Feel free to do this, or even brown this chicken skin before putting in the oven. If you go this route, I'd cut back the cooking time a bit.
- Before serving, add a few fresh basil leaves for color.
Oh la la!
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Don’t you love when a dish turns out a winner! Looks delicious, and I love the pancetta on top.
Do you shop at Mariano’s at all? They have an amazeball olive bar – you can buy as little or as much as you like. 😀
Thank you – let me know if you try it out!
That is one store I haven’t made it to yet. I’m in my routine of Trader Joes/Heinens/Fresh Market. I would love to visit it soon though!
This seems pretty easy and really good!
Tia – that is exactly what happened.
Wendy – great to see you! Hope you and your family are well. Let me know if you try this one, it’s awesome!
The bread soaked in all of the flavors is the best part!
Tres facile and delicious. Dave’s comment: Very Tasty!
So glad to hear you both enjoyed – merci!
Hello! I stumbled upon your blog. I am enjoying it. Questions on this recipe, is there a type of olive that you recommend? My roasting pan has a wire attachment where the chicken can sit higher. Should I use this or place right in with the rest of the ingredients? What do you mean by reposition it – turn it over? Different sides? Gosh I am annoying. I never roast chicken because I tend to ruin it. Hoping the receipe lives up to its name. Thank you!
Welcome Tara – not annoying at all! Here are some answers for you:
1. I don’t have a specific olive recommendation. I would stay away from canned – head to a fresh olive bar, and pick the pitted black olive that looks best to you.
2. For this recipe, I would just place the chicken right on top of all the other ingredients. It’s good to have it all mixed together.
3. Yes, when you reposition just turn the pieces over – you want to give the other sides a chance to get a bit browned and it helps speed along the cooking process.
This recipe is foul proof – give it a try, I really hope you enjoy, and thanks for visiting!
Thank you for your response!
I missed the part about cutting up the whole chicken. This is all making sense to me now. Thanks again!