Andrew’s Verdict: This dish provides an excellent, quick, and delicious way to cook chicken, perfect for a Sunday family dinner, or as an easy dinner any night. Experienced and inexperienced cooks: give this one a go. It’s fantastic.
A short, telling introduction: once, while attempting to strain pasta, I came very close to burning down our home. While I do love food (even if I did not, I believe that anyone who spends a significant amount of time around Linh would come away with at least some appreciation for food, even if it were merely peripheral, like wearing a black sweater and leaning against a chalk-covered blackboard written upon by a favorite professor), I do not possess the full passion which Linh does.
So, then, it should be clear: cooking is not my forte. I’ve never had much experience with it, nor have I had a great deal of success on those rare times when I stretched myself and tried to make a more elaborate dish.
Given my past difficulties, when I asked Linh to suggest a meal that I could prepare, the number one criterion was simplicity. After some thinking, she suggested this dish which originates from Smitten Kitchen; it promised to be a simple, delicious way to prepare roast chicken. The blurb, beginning with a mouth-watering description of chicken done to a golden-tinged exterior perfection with a rich, flavorful, moist interior from the marinade sold me.
Chicken roasted to perfection in 30 minutes.
The marinade was very simple and quick to make. I used a smoked Spanish paprika, and we’ve since prepared it with regular paprika (paprika can be found in many varieties). Both turned out delicious, it’s just a matter of taste as to whether you’d prefer a less spicy, smokier, woodsy chicken or a something in the spicier spectrum. I whipped up the marinade, dumped it in the bag with the chicken, and let it soak overnight. Easy. The original recipe noted that a day-long soak makes a remarkable difference, so that’s what I stuck to this time. We’ve since made this in a time-crunched two-hour soak, and while still yielding a tasty result, the 24 hour sit is definitely preferable. Roasting the chicken was a simple matter of 30 minutes in the oven at 425 (for legs; 35 to 40 minutes for breasts is suggested). As per the recipe, I drizzled the legs lightly with extra olive oil, and sprinkled paprika and some sea salt to taste.
Due to my lack of culinary experience (as previously noted), I messed up a bit and ended up with some soggy sides – a serving of broccoli that was on the limp side, and some ill-timed quinoa– which, in turn, caused me to leave the chicken in the oven a bit longer than I should have. As it turns out, the marinade saved the day by helping to attenuate any errors incurred from my poor form. The chicken came out of the oven moist and delicious.