greek-inspired roast chicken

Oh, the whole roasting chicken. Super simple and basic, but bursting with possibilities.

Not to mention flavor – I was feeling inspired, and also craving one, several weeks back. It was particularly gloomy Sunday, and I keep reminiscing how my mom used to make the best whole roasted chickens when we were growing up. Deciding to act on those memories, I began drawing up ideas for how to make it my own. The hubs LOVES oregano, so I thought was would be a way to incorporate that? I settled on the notion of “going Greek!”

Hands down, this is the best roast chicken that I have yet to make. It requires minimal prep work and comes together in just a few minutes. We’re filling it with briny capers, fresh vegetables, and of course – lots of oregano! A generous pour of good white wine in the bottom of the roasting pan creates a culinary perfume that envelopes the bird while it cooks, resulting in a bright, fresh flavor. Served alongside my smashed cauliflower, it was the perfect meal.

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Without trying to state the obvious, you’ll most likely end up with leftovers, as this recipe will easily feed a small army. Once the chicken is broken down, it freezes beautifully and can be used in a plethora of dishes. Chicken and Dumplings, Chicken Noodle Casserole, and Chicken Pot Pie come to mind – but don’t be surprised if you see me making chicken salad of out it and stuffing it into a pita.

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Greek-Inspired Roast Chicken {recipe adapted from Lemon & Olives}

The perfect Sunday dinner for a chilly winter evening, this flavorful roast will leave you feeling supremely satisfied. Plus – it comes together in no time! 

Ingredients:

whole roasting chicken {mine was just over 6 lbs.}

1 lemon, cut into large wedges

2 onions, cut into wedges

1.5 cups baby carrots, left whole

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

1 heaping tbsp. capers, drained

1 tbsp. dried oregano {plus more for seasoning the chicken}

3/4 cup good white wine {I used a Pinot Grigo}

1 cup low-sodium chicken stock

olive oil, for drizzling

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Remove the chicken from its wrapping and rinse well, making sure to get the inner cavity. Dry thoroughly, and rub with olive oil. Liberally season the inside and outside with salt, pepper, and oregano. To the inner cavity add in half the amount of onions, half the baby carrots, half the lemon, one garlic clove, and the capers. Set aside.

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In the bottom of a large roasting pan, add  in the white white and chicken stock, mixing to incorporate. Place the remaining vegetables plus the 1 tbsp. oregano into the liquid mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you have a V-shaped roasting rack, set the chicken atop it {if not, do what I did – lay a cooling rack atop the roasting pan and carefully place the chicken on top of it}. Roast the chicken according to the package directions. Baste occassionally, using the drippings from the bottom of the pan.

Once cooked through, remove from the oven and set aside. Cover with foil and let it sit 15 minutes, so the juices can redistribute. Carve the chicken and serve with pan drippings and vegetables. Enjoy!

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roasted pepper hummus

Some of my favorite recipes, whether it’s an easy entree, delicious appetizer, or fabulous cocktail, oftentimes are the ones that I come up with on a whim. A dash of this, a pinch of that – no real measurements, just adding based on what I have in the fridge and stocked in the pantry. This is one of those recipes.

I was making a dish not long ago that contained lots of bell peppers {in this case, gorgeous yellow ones} and rather than letting the scraps from where I trimmed the stems off go to waste, I decided to save them for later use. I hadn’t yet figured out what I wanted to prepare with them, but I knew that inspiration would strike. And sure enough, it did! I think I may have been driving home, or cleaning, or something else totally unrelated to cooking, but the thought popped in my mind – hummus! I ADORE hummus {see here and here, for example}. We were entertaining later on that weekend, and I knew that this would be the perfect dish to set out before the main course.

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And I’ll be honest, I’m going to humble brag because this dish turned out amazing. Roasting peppers brings out their natural sweetness and, if you choose to leave the skins on afterward, you’re treated with a slightly smoky flavor as well. We’re pairing the roasted peppers with lemon juice for a bright, tart pop. Chili powder helps highlight the roasted, charred flavor. Add garlic well….you always need garlic, in my opinion.

I could see the peppers easily being swapped out for other vegetables, too! Whatever you have on hand from an earlier dish, give it a whirl. Like I said, the best recipes are often the ones that come from nothing.

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Roasted Pepper Hummus

Gorgeously colored and packed full of flavor, you’ll instantly be hooked with your first dip! 

Ingredients:

3 bell peppers, cut into thick rings

1 can of great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced

2-4 tsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice

dashes {to taste} of chili powder

olive oil, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Preheat oven t0 450 degrees.

Line a sheet pan with foil, and place atop it a baking rack. Spray liberally with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.

Cut peppers into large rings {if you prefer to remove the skin before processing, simply cut the peppers into quarters}. Place, flesh side up, on the baking rack. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for at 20 minutes, then under the ‘broil’ setting for an additional 10. Be sure to keep an eye on them! – you don’t want them to scorch too much, you’re just looking for a good, crisp outer layer. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

If removing the skin from the peppers, do so now.

Into the bowl of your food processor, add in the roasted peppers, beans, clove of garlic, lemon juice, and chili powder. Process until very smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Give it one final process to incorporate.

Dish into serving bowls and serve with your favorite dippers! We love toasted pita bread, carrot and celery sticks, and pretzels.

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To store: cover and keep in the refrigerator. Dip will last up to a week.