Saturdays tend to involve a certain amount of desperation in the shopping department. Since everything is closed on Sundays (except the market, which everyone seems to forget about until late Sunday morning), there’s a bit of a better-stock-up-for-the-weekend mentality. As a result, after a relaxing Saturday afternoon at the Musée Carnavalet, Nick and I found ourselves short on time and lacking in ingredients to make a proper dinner. A trip to the store was in order, but early Saturday evening, the pickins can be slim. Considering what food we did have, I had decided to make succotash to use up the vegetables in the fridge before they went south on me. Pork roast sounded like it would go perfectly, but our efforts to find a suitable hunk of pork for roasting were thwarted at every turn. Obviously, the copious Halal butchers were out, and the offerings at the supermarket were seriously picked over. So we ended up buying a chicken instead, as well as some potatoes.
We got home and set straight to work. I dealt with dicing the potatoes while Nick prepared the chicken. Luckily, this particular chicken was sold without its head, feet, and innards – not always a given over here. I tossed the potatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them in the bottom of the baking dish to act as a makeshift roasting rack. As a bonus, I expected them to soak up the delicious chicken drippings. Nick rubbed the chicken all over with a thin layer of olive oil and seasoned it, inside and out, with salt and pepper. We stuffed some thyme, bay leaves and garlic into the cavity, and set the bird on top of the potatoes, breast side down to avoid overcooking.
Into the oven it went, and we busied ourselves with a game of cards while we waited. After 30 or 40 minutes, I flipped the chicken breast side up to continue cooking and improve the browning. Then I started on the succotash. I cleaned green beans and broke them in halves, chopped up a (poblano?) pepper, and sliced some garlic. I heated some olive oil in a pan and added the peppers. When the seared peppers were making us cough uncontrollably, I added the green beans. I cooked the green beans until brown spots began to appear, then added the garlic, followed shortly thereafter by a can of corn. (Yes, I used canned corn. It’s not in season, sue me.) A little salt to season it, and my succotash was ready.
The chicken was starting to look good when we realized that we had no thermometer, no way of knowing if it was fully cooked. We jiggled the leg a bit and guessed it must be done.
We took it out of the dish and put it on a plate to rest. Meanwhile, I stirred the potatoes and returned them to the oven to brown further. After 15 or 20 minutes, Nick carved the chicken – it was perfect! The potatoes were deliciously golden brown, so we plated it up. Not too shabby for a desperate Saturday dinner.