We used to say that there was nothing we liked better than roasting a chicken in the oven over vegetables. That was until we came across this recipe from Mario Batli's Molto Gusto. Devil's Chicken, as he calls it, takes our traditional roasted chicken and ups the flavor and intensity by adding a bit of spice and complexity in flavor. Even with the upgrades, the dish is still extremely easy to make. It doesn't require much effort or attention, but the flavors are huge and exciting.
|It does look huge and exciting. I want it!|
Making the Dish
1 whole chicken
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1.5 cups olive oil
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 large spanish onion
1 bag baby spinach
1 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
There are three parts to pull this whole thing together - the roasted chicken, the spinach and onion mix, and the spicy oil. Start things off by pre-heating the oven to 400, and then get to work on seasoning your chicken.
|Chicken seasoned with salt and pepper sitting on onions.|
To season the chicken, rinse the whole thing off and pat it dry. Season it inside and out with salt and pepper and then brush it with olive oil. Take an onion and chop it up coarsely, essentially quartering it. Take those onion pieces and scatter them over a baking dish, and then set your chicken down right on top of them, breast side down.
|Adding the mustard and pepper paste to the browned chicken.|
Place the chicken in the oven and let it roast for about 40 minutes until it's a nice golden brown. While it's cooking, create a pepper and mustard paste by combining a quarter cup of black pepper, a pinch of salt, and two tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Throw in a tablespoon of olive oil and whisk together until it's emulsified. After 40 minutes of cooking, take out the chicken (it won't be done yet) and coat the entire chicken with the mustard/pepper paste, brushing it all over. At this point you can also rearrange the onions to make sure they aren't burning and are cooking evenly. Return the coated chicken to the oven and let cook for another 30 minutes.
|The "devil" element of the Devil's Chicken: hot pepper and jalapenos.|
The other thing you'll need to do while the chicken is cooking (and do this at the beginning of the cooking cycle) is make your spicy oil. Take 1 cup olive oil, your 4 chopped jalapenos, 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of paprika, and combine them in a sauce pan. Heat it up and stir around, let cook for a few minutes, and then remove from the heat. Let this sit and marinate while the chicken continues to cook.
|Bringing the spicy oil together over heat.|
In the last few minutes of the chicken cooking, prepare your spinach. Steam it until it's wilted, and then remove from heat and press out any excess water from your spinach. Return the spinach to a skillet. After you remove the chicken and onions from the oven, place the chicken on a serving platter and take the onions and throw them into the skillet with the spinach. Saute them together with a touch of salt and pepper to taste until the flavors have married and the spinach has cooked down a little bit, about 4 - 5 minutes.
|Mixing together the spinach with the caramelized onions.|
Let your chicken rest for about 10 minutes (if you can control yourself for that long - we usually dive in earlier since the smell is so good). Carve our the servings and place them on a dish, and then drizzle with the spicy oil. Place a portion of the spinach and onions on the dish and serve. The lucky recipients of this plate will be quite happy.
|Drizzling spicy oil onto the chicken.|
This is too easy and too good not to try, so let us know how it comes out!