Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lemon-Mint Chicken

1 whole chicken
1 t olive oil
1 cup dry butter beans (or 2 cans)
1 onion
3-5 small red potatoes
1 lemon
handful fresh mint leaves
1 small can tomato paste
1/2 bulb garlic
1 dried chile
kosher salt & pepper to taste

If the beans are dry, put them to soak overnight. Refresh the water, bring to boil, and simmer until tender but not mushy, 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cut the chicken in half (widthwise, sever the spine separating top from bottom). Get a cast-iron or nonstick skillet very hot and brown the chicken halves in turn.

Cut the lemon into eighths, coarsely chop the onion, quarter the potatoes, bruise the mint leaves, peel, smash, and dice the garlic. Transfer the beans and their cooking liquid to an oven-safe stockpot or Dutch oven; add lemon, onion, potato, mint, garlic, chile, tomato paste, a generous pinch of kosher salt and 1/4 t fresh-ground pepper. Put the chicken halves on top. Add enough water to nearly cover the vegetables. Cover and bake in a 350F oven for 1-1/2 hours. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

The aromas of lemon and mint will permeate your kitchen, and their essence will likewise permeate the meat.

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