This post is showing so much skin it could be censored. What I want to show you, though, is a new cooking hack I read about in Saveur magazine that I now use all of the time. First, go to your pantry and dig out your bundt pan. Hey, it’s not a bad pan, is it? It’s made of pretty high grade aluminum so your cakes don’t burn. Cover the center hole with a strip of aluminum foil, and place the bundt pan on top of a sheet pan.
Fill the base of the bundt pan with a layer of something starchy like sliced potatoes or pre-soaked beans, like my cranberry beans. Next, add a layer of chopped vegetables. I used diced pumpkin, but you could use fennel, zucchini or even sturdy greens. The top layer will be sliced onions and maybe chopped garlic, along with some herbs or spices.
Take a whole chicken and rub it all over, and under the skin, with softened butter mixed with anything else you want to infuse it with. I often use harissa in my cooking, but you could use something else or just stick with butter, salt, and pepper.
Now, prop the chicken up on the center tube of the bundt pan. It’s weird; I know. It’s kind of like that old beer can chicken that some grillers are fond of making. Make sure the chicken has a good, solid center of gravity because as it cooks, it will soften and you don’t want it to fall over or off.
Add water to the base of the pan, at least enough to cover the starch element. Place the entire set up, carefully, in a 400 degree oven and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If the chicken starts to get too brown, but the beans and vegetables aren’t thoroughly cooked, yet, just cover the chicken part with some foil. The same can be done if the onions start to get too brown before the other vegetables and chicken are cooked. What is going to happen, though, is that the chicken fat and juices are going to drip, drip, drip into the base, soaking those ingredients with… well, schmaltz. You know that umami secret of Jewish mothers? In the end, you will get both a delicious braise and a crispy roasted bird, two in one.
Serve the dish right from the oven, if you like, or else swathe the top of the dish in aluminum foil and put it in the refrigerator over night. The next day, you can skim off some of the fat, then serve the vegetables and roasted bird plated and reheated.
Why is it so radio-actively orange, you ask? This orange took on a life of its own. I did rub the chicken down with harissa, but placing it next to the pumpkin caused both of them to trend toward the electric side of the color spectrum. I’m just going with it, though when I look at this photo, all I can think of is the Seinfeld clip The Butter Shave. I’ll bet it was ringing a bell for you, too.