I have a confession. Please don’t judge me too harshly.
I didn’t brine this chicken. As you may know, I’m a big fan of the brine. I use it in my Perfect Roast Chicken recipe all of the time. However, I was feeling lazy. It happens to the best of us. Especially those of us who are naturally predisposed to an almost criminal level of laziness, like me. A brine, though ridiculously easy and ridiculously worth it, is something that needs to be started by at least mid-afternoon the day before serving a roast chicken. And I wanted to take a nap. So I thought … whatev, I’ll dry rub the hell out of that chicken after I get a couple hours of sweet, sweet afternoon shuteye.
The chicken turned out quite well in spite of my laziness. The sumac worked beautifully with the chicken. In the future, I’m going to brine the chicken and use this rub or a variation on it.
The butternut squash salad was also delicious. The squash had a lovely amount of crunch, but if you want it softer, increase the baking time. The vinegar lent a light pickle taste to the dish and the savory herbs balanced against the sweetness of the squash. It was a really light and lovely side dish. I think I’m going to prepare it for my next family Thanksgiving as a foil to all of the richer vegetable sides that end up on the buffet table.
Sumac Roast Chicken with Butternut Squash Salad
Sumac Roast Chicken¹:
1 4 lb. whole fryer chicken
1 tbs. dried sumac
1 tbs. dried marjoram
1 tbs. dried parsley
1 tbs. garlic powder
1 tbs. freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbs. kosher salt
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, quartered
3 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh parsley, leaves and stems
1/2 medium shallot, halved
Mix together sumac, marjoram, parsley, garlic powder, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Rub chicken on all sides and inside cavity with olive oil. Season liberally with sumac mixture.
Stuff cavity with lemon, garlic, parsley, and shallot. Let sit, uncovered, on a baking dish on top a roasting rack overnight in refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 475°.
Remove chicken from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
Roast at 475° for 15 minutes or until skin is light golden brown. After 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350°. Roast chicken roughly 20 minutes per pound (rounding up to nearest pound), or until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken’s thigh reads 185º. If chicken becomes overly brown, tent with a piece of tinfoil.
When fully cooked, remove chicken from oven and cover with tinfoil. Rest 15-20 minutes, which will allow juices to redistribute and result in a tender, juicy bird.
Butternut Squash Salad:
Adapted from Food52.com
1 medium butternut squash, seeded, peeled and halved lengthwise (save your seeds for something along the lines of Worcestershire Roasted Pumpkin Seeds)
1 tbs. sugar
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 medium shallot, very finely sliced
Preheat the oven to 425º.
Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, cut butternut squash into thin strips lengthwise. Place on 2-3 large baking sheets in a single layer. Add crushed garlic cloves. Season with sugar, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Let sit 20-30 minutes.
Sprinkle the squash and garlic with olive oil and toss to coat. Place back in single layer. Place baking sheets in oven and bake 8-10 minutes until edges are light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Add thinly sliced shallots and season with red wine vinegar, thyme, and rosemary. Taste for seasonings. Transfer to refrigerator and let chill 1-2 hours.