Food Friday- Idiot Chicken

 If you have been a frequent Shabbat guest at my house there is a good chance that you have eaten  what I think of as Idiot Chicken. I don't make it weekly, but it shows up fairly often on my table.It is the first chicken dish I have taught my kids how to make. It tastes like lots of work went into it, when almost none did.

Many years ago, my husband was sent to Paris on business. He brought home one of those adorable ceramic jars of Herbes de Provence as a gift for me. It was a REALLY good gift. It was one of those gifts that is life changing.  Herbes de Provence is one of those mixtures that makes anything taste instantly delicious and sophisticated.  This gift came into my life, just when caring for my kids was at it's most time consuming. Being able to produce a meal that was delicious and easy to prepare was indeed a gift.

 Once I finished the adorable ceramic jar, I was able to pick up  plain glass jars of it at Zabars and at Fairway. Fresh Direct sells jars as well, but theirs have added salt. My sister just brought me a bag of the mix from Penzey's Spices. They have stores around the country and a website, if Zabar's and Fairway are too far to shop from..

The bare bones way to make idiot chicken is to pour  a bunch of the herb mix into a bowl and then to massage it into the chicken. You can use whole chicken or cut up chicken.Be generous with the herbs. Before you roast the chicken, pour lemon juice or white wine over the chicken. You can bake the chicken at a fast high heat, say 425, and have it be done quickly or cook it at 350, and let the chicken cook at a slower pace. Either way, turn the chicken over after it looks lovely and brown so the underside also crisps up and looks beautiful.

Cooked vegetables ready to be stuffed into the chickens
That's it.

Today I made the chicken in a slightly more deluxe way and sliced up a bunch of mushrooms onions and celery which I cooked in the microwave for five minutes with some olive oil, and more of the Herbes de Provence. I stuffed the chickens  with the cooked vegetables.

Herb mixture about to be massaged into the chickens
The herb mixture, if you want to mix it up yourself ( not difficult at all) is made up of rosemary, fennel, thyme, basil, tarragon , dill, oregano, lavender, chervil and marjoram.

Squeezing the lemon onto the chicken. I make a hole in the lemon and
then squeeze out the juice by hand. You can see how heavily the chicken is coated in the herbs.

I writing this blog post as the chicken is cooking away in my oven. I wish I could post the incredible smell coming out of the oven as I type this...If only I had access to "Smell-O-Vision". My upstairs neighbor will stop me to ask me what I am cooking when ever I do idiot chicken. And yes, it tastes great too.


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