Mars, Winter, and a Recipe for Blanket-for-the-Soul Roast Chicken


Apparently, there’s a 200-kilometer dark cloud or mark of some sort hanging over Mars. It’s not a cloud — too high, apparently. It’s not an aurora either, say my sources; the magnetic field is too weak. What is it? Who knows? Literally Martian strangeness is happening, and all any of my friends want to talk about is the snow.

“My brother lives in Boston and he’s been jumping out of his window into snowdrifts,” says Angela.

Nothing nearly as fun as that here in the city, just drifts of graying sludge heaped against the sidewalk, a relentless wind funneling down the proverbial canyons of steel, and some of the dullest conversations of all time:

“It’s cold!”
“So cold!”
“Man, this winter!”

It enough to send anyone — including Martians, most likely — scurrying home for a roast chicken, sweet potatoes, and a glass of red wine.

Roast chicken with a quick pan sauce and sweet potatoes

Get yourself a chicken (five pounds–ish), an onion, a few cloves of garlic, a couple of tablespoons of soft butter, a bottle of wine, maybe a stalk or two of rosemary, and some sweet potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Rub the chicken all over with the butter. Lift up the skin on the breast, and poke as much butter in there as you can without piercing the skin. Season the chicken well — especially with salt.

Slice the onion into thick rings and place in a roasting tin with the garlic. Put the chicken on top, using the veg as a natural trivet. Strew in a few stems of rosemary, if using. Pour in a good splash of wine, red or white, whatever you like — let’s say about 3/4 cup.

Roast until cooked through — about an hour and a half (juice from the thigh should run clear, and the meat should be 160°F at the thickest point).

Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and chop into two-inch chunks. Toss in a little olive oil and season well. Roast on their own tray for the last 30 minutes of the chicken time. Let the meat rest for fifteen minutes before slicing — jack the oven up a little to let the sweet potatoes cook through for those 15 minutes (45 minutes total).


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