roast chicken

Mole is a term used for a number of sauces in Mexico. On its own, the word usually implies Mole Poblano, a dark red sauce made with poblano peppers. This sauce, Mole Verde, is a lighter, fresher version of the sauce, made with pepitas, blended herbs, and tomatillos.

A traditional herb used in this dish is epazote, which is a pungent, weed-like herb. It’s also commonly added while cooking black beans, because it reduces the gassiness that follows after eating those magical fruits. If you can’t find epazote where you live, never fear – flat-leaf parsley will work in a pinch.

Many variations of this dish call for stewing the chicken in the sauce. But I started thinking about the fact that this sauce can be put together in about 20 minutes, and it’s a tragedy that you’d have to delay the cooking time by so much in order to stew the chicken (and lose some of the sauce’s fresh taste along the way). Instead, I figure that there’s a better way to get dinner on your table; you can roast a chicken (or buy a rotisserie chicken) separately and combine it with the sauce to serve. I particularly like the contrasting flavors of the bold, refreshing sauce and the tender roast chicken. It’s making me hungry all over again just typing this. Enough talk; let’s get cooking.

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NOTE: Here is an updated version of this recipe.

Many people are intimidated by the idea of roasting a whole bird – this kind of practice is often only reserved for a Thanksgiving turkey, and tragically so. I like to consider the whole roasting and carving of a chicken as practice for a perfect holiday meal. There are dozens of ways to roast a chicken, and many more ingredients you can use to add complexity, but I feel that they are ultimately unnecessary. Mine is a two-part process, which includes initially cooking the chicken breast-side down to prevent them from drying out.

I roast my chicken in a Le Creuset french oven, and although it is one of my favorite all-around cooking dishes, it would probably roast better in a braiser. A braiser’s lower edges would allow more of the bird to openly roast and crisp more evenly. Either way, the french oven still does the trick just fine, so let’s get down to business:

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