Sunday, August 17, 2008

Spicy Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, and Blanched Haricot Green Beans

My mom's specialty dish has become roasted chicken and potatoes with her special blend of spices. It's something that almost everyone in my family will eat at least some part of (even though my sister will douse it, like everything she eats, in ketchup before touching it), which is in itself a rare treat for my mom. The spice mixture has an irresistible aroma, and it tastes a little bit different each time, depending on how much certain spices come through or not. The recipe below is very loose and can very easily be adapted to your own taste.

My mom assembles this in very large spice canisters that she saves, so we usually end up with a 40 oz./1.13kg bottle of this stuff. The measurements aren't very exact, and when she made me my bottle, she actually just drew me more of a map on the side of the bottle instead of giving me measurements, making marks where she stopped pouring the different spices. You really don't have to make a huge quantity of it, but it does store well and is nice to have on hand.
Mom's Spicy Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, and Blanched Green Beans

For spice mixture, use the following as a guide, but always make this according to your own taste and adjust as you go along!

2 parts garlic salt
2 parts oregano
2 parts sweet paprika
1 part pepper
1 part basil
1/2 part hot paprika

Assemble the spices in a large container with a lid, and shake until well-mixed. Store until ready to use.

For the meal:
3 -6 tbsp. olive oil
6-8 tbsp. spice mixture
1 whole chicken
5 lbs. Yukon potatoes, washed and cut into wedges
16 oz. fresh cut green beans (haricot are especially good)
1 tsp. baking soda (to cook with green beans; optional)

Clean the chicken and pat dry. Place on the roaster and rub with a thin layer of olive oil. (My mom and I have chicken roasters that are upright and more or less impale the chicken to bake it. You can use one of these, or just a normal roaster.) Then, pat all over with the spice mixture, coating it well. Place the chicken in the oven at 350 F for about an hour to an hour and a half, using a meat thermometer to gauge doneness, if necessary. The inside of the bird should be at about 190 F when it is done.

Meanwhile, clean the potatoes and cut them into wedges (just remember, the bigger your wedges of potato, the longer you'll have to wait for dinner to be ready!!). Place them in a large bowl, and coat first with 2-4 tbsp. of olive oil, and then with the spice mixture to taste. I do not go light on the spices on the potatoes, but you should add the spice mixture to your own taste. If there is room in your oven, you can add the potatoes to cook with the chicken for the last 30 minutes of baking, or you can remove the chicken and start slicing it as the potatoes are cooking. If you put them in by themselves, raise the temperature to 400 F. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning ever 10 - 15 min., or until you try one and it tastes done to you.

Green Beans:
In a small saucepan, bring some salted water to boil. Add the green beans and 1 tsp. baking soda (which will keep them looking lively and green), and boil for 5-10 min. or until they are tender yet slightly crisp. If you want it, you can add butter and salt to the green beans once they are done, but they are so flavorful that you don't really need to add anything. Serve and enjoy!


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