March 16, 2011

The Devil's Chicken with Spinach and Caramelized Onions

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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!
We especially like our addition to the meal - serving it with spinach mixed with onions caramelized by cooking with the chicken. It balances the flavor of the chicken nicely, and it's healthier than other sides like we've considered having with this dish, like potatoes or mac and cheese.

Making the Dish

(Serves: 4)

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. 

The Result

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.

By cooking the chicken in this manner, and cooking it breast side down, you'll have an extremely juicy and flavorful piece of meat. What makes this great though, is drizzling the spicy oil onto the meat.

Drizzling spicy oil onto the chicken. 
The onions will have taken on the flavor of the chicken and infused it nicely with the spinach, and the spicy oil will add a smoky, hot kick to the mix. You'll undoubtedly go back for seconds.

This is too easy and too good not to try, so let us know how it comes out!


  1. This looks wonderful!! Also really like your photos...whats your secret??

  2. Thanks! The secret is YiRan :)

  3. congrats on become blogger of note!

    the food on this blog looks amazing to say the least. and I had a look through the other entries, I LOVE how you included a pic of your cat on each one. I'm a cat fanatic. I love them, they're adorable. And I'm no doubt a lover of food - I didn't realise it until my blog readers pointed out how most of my blog posts are on food. Sigh.

    And I wonder why I'm still so chubby.

    Anyway, Keep up the lovely posts!

  4. I check out most "blogs of note" but normally pass over the foodie type ones, yours however caught my eye, not sure if its the writing style or the pictures but whatever it is I like it. Will be following :)


  5. Nice blog of note!
    All the food looks... scrumptious! hehe

  6. Thanks for the kind words! We're glad you like it. Hopefully you can try some of these recipes out at home :)

  7. Hm... That is good eating.
    You sure are fine cook. I think I'm gonna try that soon.

  8. You are adorable and the cooking looks good too.

  9. Stephanie likes spaghetti too!!

  10. Exactly what RJR said. I'm not big into food sites, but there is something about this one that works.

  11. OMG :**
    I had a red cat, too. He died in june 2010 in the age of three. I like your blog.
    But the pic's of herbie make me cry because I have to think about my little Lino all the time. Herbie looks exactly like my little Lino. So cute <3
    RIP my little sweetie :*

    But I really like your blog (:

  12. congrats on making blog of note! great blog...**drooling**

  13. Thanks so much for all the compliments! Herbie really appreciates them too :)

  14. Oh Yum! This looks utterly delicious. I love the flavours that coat the chicken and also the tasty spinach with caramelised onions. Yum.

  15. Wow that looks so yummy! Too bad I hate to cook...

  16. this looks so good. check out my blog!

  17. I just found your blog in "Blogs of Note" I love it! The photography is amazing and the recipes look fantastic! I'm writing a blog about teaching my kids to cook and your latest post looks promising. I'll be following!

  18. Thanks guys - glad it is helpful! Let us know if you have any recipe requests you'd like to see cooked and photographed! :)

  19. Photography is beautiful. I can't wait to check it out.

  20. Whaa.. Looks yummie.. :)

  21. These photos are making me hungry.... Looks like a dish I would definitely try ;)

  22. Thanks for the new ideas. I love to make up new recipes and this one looks like a winner. I do believe the sauce will be too hot for me but I'm sure my husband will like it. I won't be putting the sauce on the whole chicken. We can each pour ours to our own likes. I just finished writing down the recipe. I need to get a whole chicken out of the freezer to thaw for tomorrow. I lack the spinach, jalapenos, and paprika. I'll pick those up tomorrow. I'll let you know how this one turns out. I won't have time tomorrow but Friday I'll make this.
    I hope I have time to get back with you this weekend on the taste. I know it will be wonderful.
    RepublicSearcher blogger.

  23. VERY COOL!

    Congrats on being chosen a Blog of Note! I really like your page!!

    Common Cents

  24. Gorgeous mouthwatering photos. One thing many cookbooks miss is the step by step photos and yours are phenomenal. I especially love Herbie. MeeeOW!

  25. nice blog, the photos are amazing.
    you two make a very good couple :)

  26. Herbie! I think I just exploded from cute overload! I found you through 'bloggers of note', and now I do believe it's time for lunch :-) Beautifully photographed. I'm still new to blogging, but you're the first I've followed. Have a lovely day and I look forward to seeing your other posts!

  27. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also... Big thanks for the useful info i found on Comentari de categoria nova.

    Kesha Tickets

  28. You have such a cute cat, and the food looks really good, fresh produce and the photos are well taken. I'm only just starting a blog and its great to see blogs like this, doing well with great content.

    Say hi to Herbie for me!

  29. I am quite excited that I came across this website. I did not find out any other informative site on this subject matter prior to visiting your site. This is one of the best websites I have ever come across. I hope you never stop writing informative articles.Houston Alarm Monitoring


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