The Silver Spoon’s Pollo Arosto

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.

Pollo Arosto
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.

 Random Recipes #13 - February



  1. February 6, 2012 / 6:47 pm

    Sounds (and looks) delicious! I got a new big Le Creuset for Christmas (yaaayyy!), so I shall give this a try. I've not done much "pot roasting" before.
    I think Donna Hay would be super proud of your styling efforts, that green bias binding works well with the rosemary and adds to the rustic charm 😉

  2. February 6, 2012 / 6:51 pm

    bloody hell that looks so good!… I love a long roasted chicken, this looks so good and I'm glad you've found that book again, it sounds wonderfully old-fashioned! Happy Anniversary to you both (and to me!!!) and thank you for taking part xx

  3. February 6, 2012 / 10:11 pm

    I think your marriage is safe if that is what you are feeding Boy Wonder! Excellent take on roast chicken and anything in a Le Creuset is fine by me. Happy Anniversary to you and Random Recipes.

  4. February 6, 2012 / 10:58 pm

    I often seal up a chicken in a pot of some kind to keep it moist while cooking. A really good way to cook chicken and yours looks delicious. Happy Anniversary and don't worry about not feeling like Sophia Loren – I rarely feel like her either unless I'm very drunk.

  5. February 7, 2012 / 2:37 am

    Everytime I walk near cookbooks in any store, I drop (heavy) hints to my partner about The Silver Spoon. At it stands, me thinks I might have to just buy one for myself! That roast chicken looks like just the sort of thing I love to cook – easy one pot wonders. Happy Anniversary Lucy. 🙂

  6. February 29, 2012 / 6:20 am

    Sorry I missed this, belated Happy Anniversary.

    I love this kind of food simple and rustic but it looks so tasty…anything with onions…I must get some green bias binding so I can have a go…


  7. February 29, 2012 / 11:15 pm

    came over from dom's, this looks beautiful! I like simple food liek this, it definitely looks gorgeous in its simplicity, and I love how easily available the ingredients are, not to mention how simple it is to make. yum!

  8. March 2, 2012 / 3:46 am

    Oh, gorgeous. Roast chicken in any form is just about my favourite food, ever, and I always love seeing new ways to do it. Definitely on the list to cook.

  9. March 2, 2012 / 8:11 pm

    Oh, you've got me imagining roast chicken now! Which is unfortunate, since dinner tonight is smoked haddock. Oh well – maybe on Sunday…

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