Weekly Recipe #46: Roasted Chicken with Pancetta and Olives

By Susan Pagani, Communications Director

As the real winter weather sets in, warm dishes become essential. In this recipe, chicken is roasted with a savory trio of garlic, pancetta and olives, along with a dose of spice. A shallow bath of white wine keeps the chicken moist.

Although we do not like to boast, friends have told us this chicken recipe elevates the fowl in their estimation — a worthy contender in the battle of cow vs. all for center of the meat-eater’s plate.

Roasted Chicken with Pancetta and Olives

Adapted from a recipe from Gourmet

(Serves 4)

1 chicken (about 3 1/2 lb), backbones cut out and cut into 12 pieces*
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tbsp. chopped thyme
1/2 tbsp. chopped rosemary
1/2 tbsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. Spanish paprika
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (1/4-inch-thick) slice pancetta, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
12 oil-cured black olives

1. Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.
2. Toss chicken with oil, thyme, rosemary, sea salt, red-pepper flakes and paprika, rubbing mixture into chicken.
3. Arrange chicken, skin side up, in one layer in a sheet pan. Scatter garlic and pancetta on top and roast until chicken begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Drizzle wine over chicken and roast 8 minutes more. Scatter olives over chicken and roast until skin is golden brown and chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

*To cut a chicken into 12 pieces, remove wings and cut each breast half into 3 pieces, then separate drumsticks and thighs. Backbones can be used to make chicken stock.

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