Tomato-Basil Butter...doesn't that just sound like something you could slather on about anything? I can see it now on pasta, toast, biscuits, baked potatoes, grilled cheese, corn, chicken, so many ideas. Good thing it is tomato season.
I spied this recipe months ago and I filed it away for late July/August when fresh, ripe, juicy tomatoes are everywhere. Every time I paged through my Curtis Stone cookbook, What's For Dinner?, his Whole Roasted Chicken with Tomato-Basil Butter called to me. I could practically envision everyone smiling and happy at the dinner table.
As usual, I was right. This was an incredible chicken dinner! The tomato-basil butter keeps the chicken moist, helps to create a crispy delicious skin, and adds a fresh summery flavor. The remaining tomato jam makes for a lovely accompaniment. I was hoping for some leftover chicken, but it was picked clean. Much to my disappointment, there would be no leftover chicken sandwiches with tomato jam.
However, the tomato jam was delicious on a breakfast sandwich with a fried egg and some Italian cheese. Then later I used up the last bit of tomato jam on a pita with some hummus and spinach. I also think it would be lovely spooned over a block of cream cheese and spread onto crackers. You really can't go wrong!
Curtis suggests making a double batch of the tomato-basil butter, and therefore also the tomato jam, and I have to agree with him. Do yourself a favor and listen to his advice. The tomato jam is fabulous on sandwiches and the tomato-basil butter has endless uses. You can even freeze the butter so you can enjoy the lovely fresh flavors come winter time (yikes)! I promise you won't be sorry.
Whole Roasted Chicken with Tomato-Basil Butter
Adapted from What's For Dinner
by Curtis Stone
4 plum tomatoes (about 12 ounces total)
4 large sprigs of fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, very coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
One 4-1/2 pound chicken
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Make The Tomato-Basil Butter: In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes; thyme, and garlic with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the tomatoes, with the thyme and garlic, on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 1 hour, or until the tomatoes are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool slightly; discard the thyme stems. Leave the oven on.
On a cutting board or in a food processor, finely chop the tomatoes and garlic. Transfer the tomato jam to a small bowl and mix in the basil. In a medium bowl, mix the butter and half of the tomato jam to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve the remaining tomato jam.
To Roast The Chicken: Using your fingers, starting at the neck end of the chicken, carefully make a pocket between the flesh and skin of the chicken breasts and top of the legs. Gently slide enough of the tomato butter inside the cavity of the chicken, then stuff the cavity with some of the carrots, celery, and onions and half of the garlic. Using kitchen twine, tie the legs of the chicken together. Tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders.
Place the remaining chopped vegetables in a medium roasting pan (or cast iron skillet). Spread the remaining tomato butter all over the chicken; set the chicken on the vegetables. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh reads 160F. Transfer the chicken to a carving board to rest for about 15 minutes.
To Serve The Chicken: Meanwhile, discard the vegetables in the pan. Pour the pan juices into a measuring cup and spoon off the fat. Heat the pan over medium heat and add the broth and pan juices. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a sauce boat. Carve the chicken and serve with the pan juices and tomato jam passed on the side.
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