Sunday, September 27, 2009

Roasted Chicken with Provencale Pistou

I don't know about you, but the smell of fresh lavender always makes me a little bit pensive.
*sigh* What I wouldn't give (at almost any given moment) to be wandering about in the lavender cloaked hills of Provence... exploring enchanting villages, lush vineyards, and vibrant Provencale markets. Tasting wine and eating tantalizing food...

Considering my actual physical proximity to the hills of France, I usually have to settle for something a bit less fabulous -- a meandering jaunt, perhaps, out the back door and into our little urban green space where I have a few delightful mounds of hardy lavender growing. On rare occasions (when I'm really lucky), I have a bit of time to lounge in the grass with the crown of my head right up against the garden where the smell of the lavender flowers is really intoxicating.

Better yet, I can snip a few sprigs of lavender and bring them in the house for later.
On this particular occasion, I was having a hankering for roasted chicken. I'd been toying with the idea of "psycho-ing" the bird (see recipe for Psycho Chicken) and seasoning it with some pesto and lemon. But, I saw the lavendar, and I got to thinking. How about a Provencale Pesto?
I grabbed little whisps of herbs -- rosemary, thyme, summer savory, tarragon, marjoram, oregano, and parsley. And I added it to my sprigs of lavendar. Then, I came into the house, pulled all the tender leaves from the woody stems, and threw everything into the food processor with a few cloves of garlic.
A few whirs and a whorl of olive oil later... and I had some seriously fabulous stuff. The herbal aroma was completely intoxicating.
I saw the pretty little pastured chicken sitting there in the roasting pan, and I thought to myself "Gosh, that poor thing doesn't want to be poked and prodded with a knife."So, we opted for another great flavor-imparting technique. We stuffed the pistou underneath the chicken's skin -- and well into the cavity.
We left just enough of the pistou so that we could rub a final round of it into the skin. Finally, we placed a quartered lemon into the cavity.
And then, we tossed it into the oven. Well -- I use the term "tossed" fairly loosely here. I may have placed it in the oven somewhat quickly, but I didn't do so in a completely willy-nilly fashion. But, you can treat your chicken as you will. Rest assured, it will come out of the oven looking beautiful and brown and succulent.You'll cut it open and you'll gasp -- as we did -- to smell all the herbalicious deliciousness. The tender breast will be redolent with the fragrance of the pistou. Just garlicky enough to be wonderful, but not so much that you wake up the next day wishing you hadn't eaten it. And so wonderfully balanced by the flavors of the other herbs that you just wish you could eat and eat and eat some more...

You don't, of course. But, you definitely think about making this again.

Roasted Chicken with Provencale Pistou



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23 comments:

  1. I've done a version of that, but not that intensely crammed full of stuff. And I used butter, a la Jamie Oliver. Your recipe looks even more delightful, with a HUGE blast of fragrance and flavor. Wow! You guys cover the whole spectrum -- from sammiches to fine French cuisine. I love it!

    Bon appetit!
    Melissa

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  2. I would have never thought of you a lavender in my pesto. FABULOUS! I can imagine the scent that filled the air when you cut into that roasted chicken :-)

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  3. okay, let me try this again.... Appears, I was not typing my words correctly. I meant I would never have thought of using lavender in my pesto.

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  4. It looked and sounded good until I saw I needed to touch the chicken as in stuff the herbs under the chicken's skin. I'll let Joe do that. :)
    ~ingrid

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  5. How completely fabulous is this! My herbs des provence have lavendar in it and I love it. This sounds wonderful!

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  6. What a great idea to add lavender into the mix. I agree that there are few things as good smelling as lavender and I always make sure I have some in my garden (since I am also not so very close to the Provence myself..lol) Great idea though to add this to the chicken! Looks gorgeous and I am sure the smell must have been fantastic!

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  7. This sounds quite ingenious and delicious. I would never have thought to make a lavender-based pistou. That chicken must have been so flavorful!

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  8. oh...my hubby would have so loved to be a guest at your dinner table last night!

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  9. It looks fabulous. Too bad a roasting pan is about the only kitchen tool we don't have.

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  10. Oh delicious! What a lovely way to roast a chicken - all those herbs and all that flavor!

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  11. The use of herbs makes such a difference when cooking chicken. Looks delicious.

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  12. I so loooove pistou!! & that stuffed pistou chiken must taste divine,..

    .Just perfect!!! At what hour is dinner?

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  13. Mmmm, we can smell the herby goodness all the way over here. Sounds fabulous.

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  14. Okay, first off - you are so completely lucky to have lavender growing in your yard. I, on the other hand, have dandelions. Eee gad.

    Secondly, aren't you clever as all get out. I would never have thought to cook with it. Mixed with all those other herbs, I imagine it was heavenly.

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  15. Pistou...sounds and looks so tasty...what a nice chicken...yummie!

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  16. Your kitchen must have smelled like a Provencal chalet. I love a roast chicken, and I've used lemon, lavendar and thyme (with a hint o' honey and some garlic) but never would have thought of an herbes de provence pesto! Gosh, I could have eaten the heck out of that bird.

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  17. Hmmmmm... something new to do with that lavendar on the patio that just won't die!

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  18. Roasitng the chicken with the fresh herbs is a flavor powerhouse. I bet the lavendar really puts it over the top.

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  19. Roast chicken is the ultimate comfort food. I could tear one apart with my bare hands and eat it all myself if I could get away with it.

    I love stuffing lots of herbs under the skin. I also love combining interesting herb mixes. As I call it, "untraditional pesto".

    I tried growing lavendar, but I ended up wiht lots of fragrant leaves and no flowers. Go figure!

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  20. I need to plant lavendar in my garden. I love it. It reminds me of my grandparent's house, when I was little. And I love roasted chicken, although I've never thought to put THAT many herbs in it at once. Lovely! I can imagine it was divine.

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  21. Mmmm...lavender. I'd love to have a huge field of it someday.

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  22. I am always looking for a new way to cook chicken. This looks like a great way to make it.

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