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Summer Bird: Roast Chicken with Peaches and Leeks

Posted Jul 30 2010 11:57am

Rarely, rarely do I roast a whole bird — and by rarely, I mean only on Thanksgiving (somehow, I don’t think that’s too uncommon). As it happened, Trader Joe’s had a good price on whole chickens, peaches are in season, and I’d been meaning to try out an enticing “Roasted Chicken and Peaches” recipe from my Simply Organic cookbook by Jesse Ziff Cool.

Peaches fresh from the Farmers' Market at Fremont Park in Sacramento.

I enjoyed this one, as I sort of have a thing for cooked fruit. I wouldn’t say I have a huge sweet tooth, but there is something about the natural sweetness that comes from cooked fresh fruit, caramelized leeks, a touch of brown sugar and spices. That said, as good as it was to try my hand at whole-chicken-roasting, I might try this recipe again using chicken breasts instead.

Roast Chicken with Peaches and Leeks
adapted from Jesse Ziff Cool’s “Roasted Chicken and Peaches.” I did change around some of the ingredients and spices.

Roasted chicken, peaches, leeks and spices. I served this with whole wheat couscous mixed with fresh Sage and creamy French Valbreso feta.

1 whole chicken, on the small side
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin

5 to 6 peaches, pitted and sliced large (quarters or sixths)
2 leeks, halved and sliced thinly
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground Mace (or 1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg)
1 tsp dry Marjoram
1 tsp dry Tarragon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Meat thermometer

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place chicken in a roasting pan, and rub well with olive oil. Combine 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and cumin in a small bowl; rub chicken with spice mixture.

In a large bowl, combine peaches, leeks, brown sugar, cinnamon, mace or nutmeg, marjoram and tarragon. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Scatter peach mixture all around chicken in roasting pan.

Roast chicken at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Occasionally open oven to stir the peach mixture and baste chicken with its juices. After 30 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Roast for another 30 minutes at this temperature, or until a thermometer inserted into the breast reaches 175 degrees and the juices run clear.

Serve cuts of roasted chicken topped with roasted peaches and leeks.

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