Cook the Book: Chicken with Nutmeg

"The chicken was intensely satisfying (as all roasted chickens are) but had a little more going on than usual."

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

When I opened Italian Easy by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, I happened to land on this recipe for Chicken with Nutmeg—I was immediately sold. I've roasted hundreds of chickens with white wine and lemon, but nutmeg had never crossed my mind.

I'm certainly not one to shy away from nutmeg in savory situations, but with chicken? The combination was positively genius, one that I wished I had come up with on my own.

While seasoning the chicken with lots of grated nutmeg, I was a little afraid the flavor would be overpowering but once the chicken was out of the oven, the nutmeg flavor had become far less pronounced. Mixed with the tart white wine and lemon juice and countered by the fatty prosciutto, the nutmeg provided a warming, but not over-the-top background note.

The chicken was intensely satisfying (as all roasted chickens are) but had a little more going on than usual. The next time I roast a chicken, nutmeg will certainly be involved—perhaps even more than the called-for amount in this recipe. Chicken and nutmeg clearly have a good thing going on.

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Cook the Book: Chicken with Nutmeg

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About This Recipe

Yield:4

Ingredients

  • One 4 pound organic chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Procedures

  1. 1

    Heat the oven to 375°F.

  2. 2

    Wipe the chicken clean and trim off all excess fat. Cut the lemon in half. Grate the nutmeg.

  3. 3

    Rub the chicken all over with the lemon, squeezing the juice into the skin. Season with the skin and inside the cavity with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Tuck the prosciutto slices into the cavity.

  4. 4

    Put the chicken in a roasting pan, breast-side down, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 1 1/2 hours, basting from time to time. Add the wine after 30 minutes. Turn the bird breast-side up for the last 20 minutes.

  5. 5

    Serve with juices from the pan.

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