Who was it that said the more things change, the more they stay the same? This time last year I was shamefacedly admitting that I’d never cooked a single recipe from The Silver Spoon, the mammoth Italian cookbook apparently given to new brides that the Boy Wonder gave me for our wedding anniversary in 2007.
I dragged it out for the first-ever instalment of Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipe challenge – and made a promise to myself to dip into it more often, which I have done. A bit. Well, I use it for reference a lot, and we did actually make an amazing swordfish thing out of it together, which was not in the usual rules for new Italian brides in the 1950s.
But to celebrate both Random Recipe’s first birthday – and our wedding anniversary – I dipped into The Silver Spoon again last night to make this rustic pot-roasted chicken. I was covered in dirt following an afternoon in the vegetable garden and felt more like an ancient Italian peasant woman than Sophia Loren, but that’s not such a bad thing, is it? There is an elegance in rustic simplicity, after all.
This requires only a modicum more attention than an oven-roasted chicken and you don’t have to stand over the stove for long. The Silver Spoon recommends eating it with ”buttered carrots” but we had it with rice and bowl of salad greens.
4Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stick celery (I actually used a bulb of fennel, which worked well), chopped
1 stalk fresh rosemary
1 good chicken
salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot with a lid (like a Le Creuset or similar). Add the vegetables and rosemary and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Wash and dry the chicken and season the cavity with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string (or a bit of green bias binding, if that is the only thing that comes to hand). Raise the heat and add the chicken to the pot. Cook for another 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Splash in a bit of water or wine and clamp on the lid, then cook over low-medium heat for 45-50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. The vegetables will cook down to a deliciously dark and sticky sauce, which is very good with rice.