by Susan Hanna

This is another delicious chicken recipe from Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman. Brown a whole chicken or chicken pieces in a Dutch oven. Add lemon and shallot slices, cook for a few minutes and then add dates, thyme and water. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, cover and cook for about 25 minutes. Remove the lid, drizzle with oil and roast uncovered for another 20-30 minutes. Serve the chicken with the shallots, lemon and dates, sprinkled with thyme and sea salt.

Serves 4-6.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the dates to make sure they don’t contain sulfites. I use Parnoosh dates, which are additive-free. Make sure your pepper flakes don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ -4 lb. (1.58-1.8 g) chicken or 3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or legs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil, divided
  • 1 lemon, cut into thick slices crosswise, seeds removed
  • 2 shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 4-6 medjool dates (3 oz./85 g), pitted
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme plus more for serving
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes
  • Flaky sea salt for serving

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) with rack in the middle.
  2. Season chicken all over with kosher salt and black pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil in a large (at least 8 quart/7.5 L) Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the pot breast side up, and using your tongs or hands (be careful!), press lightly to make sure the skin comes into even contact with the pot bottom. This is your chance to brown the legs and render that excess fat! It’s rarely offered in whole-chicken recipes, so take advantage. If using chicken parts, just sear the chicken skin-side down.
  3. Cook, without moving, until the chicken is nice and browned, about 5-8 minutes. Seriously, no peeking! Nothing exciting will happen before 5 minutes, I promise you.
  4. Add the lemon slices and shallot, maneuvering the chicken however you need so that the slices come into contact with the bottom of the pot. Let everything sizzle in the chicken fat until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the dates, thyme sprigs and water. Sprinkle red pepper over chicken; cover. Roast in oven until dates are plump, the lemon is jammy and chicken is almost but not totally cooked, 20-25 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and drizzle the chicken with the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of oil. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered until liquid has reduced by half and chicken is golden brown, 20-30 minutes.
  7. Let chicken rest in the pot for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and carve. Serve along with the shallot, lemons and dates, with some more thyme and flaky sea salt sprinkled over.

From Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman