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the goods

3.5 lb fresh chicken
fresh dill, parsley, thyme
3-4 zucchini
1 can large white beans, drained and rinsed
white wine
olive oil
1 lemon
1 red onion

you will need:

baking tray

wire rack

time: 15 mins active, 1 hr cooking





fast roast chicken dinner

I call this a fast roast chicken dinner, but it will be exponentially improved if you can plan it a couple of days ahead.

My friend, Andy Harris taught me the trick of roasting the bird over the zucchini and beans. It turns the chicken into an instant meal.

here's the tips and tricks:
  1. buy a small bird. under 4 pounds. or (for a larger group) roast 2 birds at the same time. My friend, Bea, always says a chicken in the fridge is as good as money in the bank. The reason here is that the chicken will cook at the same time it takes to make it crispy.
  2. salt the bird. release it from its foul packaging, give it a rinse, pat it dry with paper towel and then sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of salt all over it (and a little inside the cavity). cover it and pop it in the fridge for 24-48 hrs.
  3. pat it dry, shove some sprigs of herbs and a little butter between the breast and skin and some more between the skin and thigh.
  4. put it in a hot oven.
here's how:
Pre-heat the oven to 450f
Slice the zucchini into rounds, peel the onion and cut it in half, then each half into quarters. Add both to the baking pan, add the drained beans, 1/2 cup white wine, a good drizzle of olive oil and some sprigs of thyme, dill and, if you have it, rosemary. Place the wire (cake) rack over the baking pan and put everything into the oven to heat up.
Pat the chicken dry. do not rinse the salt off it. add the herbs and butter under the skin. place half a lemon into the cavity.
Place the chicken onto the hot wrack, over the vegetables.
Roast 20 minutes, then flip the bird over. Roast another 20 minutes, flip back and roast a further 20 minutes. Actually, you can test the bird after 15. At this heat, you should be done. Remove it to a plate, cover with foil.

If you want to serve potatoes with this, parboil some spuds whilst the chicken is roasting. try this recipe for roast potatoes, using olive oil instead of goose fat. Pop them into the hot oven whilst the chicken is resting.

For a salad, some simple greens tossed with a lemony, dill dressing would be a nice touch.

The juices from the chicken will have drizzled down into the zucchini and beans.

Amp up the flavour by using a little preserved lemon wedge in the chicken cavity instead of fresh lemon, and add a little minced preserved lemon peel to the vegetables as you serve them.