You know how they’re always offering free samples at Whole Foods? I live for that. The only trouble is that I’m an exceptionally awkward person, particularly so when it comes to helping myself to free snacks. I will circle the sample station no fewer than three times before I’m really ready to pretend that whatever it is they’re offering is totally new to me and I’m outrageously curious about it.
I don’t have a car, but I do have the appetite of a beluga whale, so I grocery shop often. For a few weeks this spring, it seemed like the Whole Foods in my neighborhood was sampling Uniekaas aged gouda every single day. I like Uniekaas aged gouda quite a bit, and the girl working the cheese counter witnessed this fact quite frequently over the course of those few weeks. And yet, every single time I took my free cheese sample, I put on the same silent performance for her. What is this cheese? Gow-da? Gosh, how do you pronounce that! Why, let me have a taste!
Lately, they’ve been sampling fresh pineapple chunks, and I’m pretty sure this is a practical joke orchestrated specifically at my expense. In fact, I have a strong suspicion that the cheese girl is in cahoots with the produce guys and that there’s some back room somewhere where a bunch of Whole Foods employees are on break laughing their beets off because OHMYGAH that girl in the fluorescent orange knee-high socks and bike helmet is here again only THISTIMEGUESSWHAT she’s pretending like she’s never had pineapple before.
Very funny, guys.
I sometimes carry out this “I am not doing what you think I’m doing” charade in the comfort of my very own apartment. For example, my roommate recently entered the kitchen to find me in my Big Mac attackattackattack t-shirt, standing on top of a chair, towering four feet above this roasted chicken — my big, fat, digital SLR camera hanging around my neck like a noose. I was like, “Oh, HAI.” And then pretended to not be doing what it was I was obviously doing. And then I might have looked out the window, silently offering up the possibility that I was just trying to get a better look at something. Or perhaps I scratched my leg, as if the only effective way to do it was from way up there.
Roast Chicken with Radishes and Rosemary — Gluten-free, Paleo, and Whole30 compliant.
Chicken Brine:* (see note)
- 5 cloves of garlic, halved
- 6-7 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 6-7 sprigs of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1-1/2 cup 100% apple juice
- 6 cups ice
Chicken and Radishes:
- 1 whole roasting chicken (about 5 pounds), giblet packet removed
- 3 tablespoons ghee (or other fat), melted
- 1 pound radishes, quartered
- 2 tablespoons + 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon + 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 lemon, zested and halved
- Sea salt + cracked black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, quartered
8 to 12 hours before you cook the chicken, prepare the brine. In a large pot, add all the ingredients except for the ice. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat once the salt has dissolved. Add the ice, stir, and allow the brine to cool completely. Rinse the chicken and submerge it in the pot, cover it, and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
When the chicken is done brining, remove it from the pot and discard the liquid; pat the chicken dry. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay the radishes in the bottom of a cast-iron skillet (a 12″ skillet works well), and toss them with about half of the melted ghee. In a spice grinder, mix together the 2 tablespoons rosemary, 1 teaspoon thyme, garlic powder, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix the buttered radishes with about half of the spice mixture.
Dig a small hole in the center of the pile of radishes and place your chicken there, breast side up. Brush the remaining ghee onto the chicken and rub the remaining spice mixture all over the skin. With kitchen twine, tie the legs together and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the sprigs of rosemary and thyme, the lemon halves, the quartered garlic, and plentiful salt and pepper. Cook for about 90 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the chicken from the oven, cover it in foil, and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes before carving and serving.
If you don’t have time to brine, it’s okay to skip this step. But it really does make it extra delicious, so I do suggest starting this the day before.