Roast chicken is one of my favorite meals; I love it rubbed and roasted with just salt and pepper. But when I feel like playing, herbs are the first place I go. Lavender might not be the first herb you think of when cooking, an herb that comes more to mind when thinking of bath soaps or pot pourri. The taste, however, is similar to rosemary with a lemon and citrus taste and a bit more delicate, more summery tasting. The place you see it most in cooking and may not have known is in a dried herb mixture called Herbs de Provence, where it’s combined with other herbs like thyme, rosemary and marjoram in differing combinations.
You can of course roast the chicken whole, but I’ve shortened the cooking time by butterflying the chicken. You get a wonderfully crispy skin, with out so much heat in the kitchen. If you prep it before work, you can have dinner ready in a little over an hour.
Lavender Chicken with Sea Salt
Roasting the chicken with the lemon underneath is a great way to add flavor and moisture to the dish. The best place to find lavender is in your own garden (or a friend’s). In the summertime I use fresh lavender and in the winter dried. Dried is a more pungent, and still very tasty.
4-6 pound chicken
2 tablespoons lavender
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 lemon, cut into 3 big slices
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the small bag on the inside of the chicken and then cut off any excess fat around the opening. Place the lemon slices and the gizzards (what’s in the bag that was inside the chicken) on a roasting pan. Cut the chicken in half, splitting the breastbone, but not cutting through the spine on the other side. Open the chicken up like you would a book. Rub the whole chicken with the lavender, salt and pepper and lay flat on top of the lemon slices and gizzards, breast side up.
Roast for 1 – 1 1/2 hours depending on how large the chicken is. It is done when an internal thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 170-175 degrees. Remove and let rest for 15 minutes. Carve and serve with roasted baby carrots.
Roasted Baby Carrots
1 pound baby carrots, well scrubbed
Twenty minutes before you are ready to remove the chicken from the oven, Scatter the carrots over the roasting pan. Stir once and to coat with the juice in the pan and roast for 20 minutes. It’s not necessary to add salt or pepper, the seasoning will come from the chicken juices.