Few things say Sunday dinner to me like a whole roasted chicken and I often do a really basic Italian roasted chicken with garlic, thyme, etc., but a couple of weeks ago, I was craving a something a bit different. I started thinking about a trip I took to Belize years ago and the amazing spices of the stewed chicken I had there. Everywhere, positively everywhere, there was just amazing, rich, flavorful stewed chicken, from the tiniest hole in the wall joint to the less tiny hole in the wall joints. (What can I say -- I was in a remote area. There weren't Michelin starred restaurants -- but the food was amazing. Caribbean soul food.)
For years, I've thought about that chicken and finally I resolved to replicate those seasonings and flavors. Instead of stewing chicken parts, I thought I'd roast the whole bird.
For the spice rub:
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of ancho chili powder
1/4 teaspoon of ground clove
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of allspice
1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
You will also need:
juice of one lime
2 to 4 cloves of garlic
whole roasting chicken (about 3 pounds)
In a small bowl, combine the lime juice with an equal amount of olive oil. Set that aside.
Mix all the spices for the spice rub. Set that aside.
Clean up the chicken. I usually cut off the big hunk of fat on the tail, then wash it with cold water. Dry it thoroughly with paper towels. Put the chicken in a roasting dish. Smash the garlic cloves and toss those in the cavity. Using your index finger, separate the skin from the breast meat. Jam some of the spice mix into those pockets, then rub the olive oil/lime mixture onto the bird. Coat the bird liberally with the rest of the spice mixture. Truss the legs and you're ready to roast. [Note: if you have some olive oil/lime left, set it aside. You can use it later to baste the bird.] You can do this ahead and refrigerate the chicken (I usually do the prep in the morning, then pop it into the oven later in the day.)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Roast for about 90 minutes (check it at 75 minutes, though.) [To check, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh -- when it hits 180, it is done.] Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before carving. I like to serve this with baked sweet potatoes and a simple salad. Enjoy!