Slashed Chicken and ‘Saffron’ Orzo

I guess it’s all about the cooking here lately, huh? Well, Monday we had a yummy chicken dish that utilized both my beautiful dutch oven AND my beloved Shun knife. Fun! The chicken recipe is SO good…I mean, why wouldn’t it be, when you take a chicken and cover it in a whole stick of butter and some herbs. What’s not gonna be tasty about that?

I found this recipe on the Williams-Sonoma website.  My picture isn’t nearly as gorgeous as theirs, but still. Good chicken.

Slashed Chicken with Herb Butter
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. chopped fresh chervil
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
1 chicken, 3 to 4 lb.
2 bay leaves, cut in half
2 garlic cloves, sliced

Put a 5-quart oval Dutch oven in a cold oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. After the oven has preheated, heat the pan for 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the butter, parsley, chives, chervil, thyme, lemon zest, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper and stir until well blended. Set the compound butter aside.

Rinse the chicken with cold water and pat dry. Set the chicken, breast side up. Using a sharp knife, cut 3 slashes, each 4 inches long and 1/2 inch deep, in each breast. Cut 2 slashes, each 3 inches long and 1/2 inch deep, in each leg. Rub the compound butter all over the chicken, pushing the butter into the slashes. Place 1/2 bay leaf in 1 slash of each breast and leg. Push the garlic slices into all the slashes. Be sure to push the bay leaves and garlic securely into the slashes. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Carefully place the chicken, breast side up, in the hot pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, registers 170°F, 50 to 60 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 to 25 minutes. Carve the chicken and arrange on a warmed platter. Serve 4.

See the lovely browned bits at the bottom of the pan in my picture? Well, I’ve watched enough cooking shows to know that that’s a lot of flavor right there, so while the chicken was resting, I poured off the fat, then deglazed the pan with white wine, whisked in a bit more butter (when a stick just isn’t enough), and made a truly yummy sauce to pour over the chicken.

Oh, and my tip to roasting a chicken a little faster than the recipe? I remove the backbone before roasting. I’m not going to use it anyway, so why not? 🙂


To go along with this yummy chicken, I steamed some broccolini, and served it along with ‘saffron’ orzo. I put saffron in quotes, because I’m way too cheap to buy saffron very often, so I used turmeric instead. Still quite yummy. We saw Giada make this on the Food Network a week or so ago, and have had it twice now. It’s really good. It would probably be even better with Saffron instead of ‘saffron’.

Saffron Orzo:
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 pound dried orzo
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, bringing the stock to a simmer. Add the saffron, stir, and allow the saffron to bloom, about 5 minutes. (I didn’t worry about this step, because I don’t think turmeric needs to ‘bloom’.)  Return the heat to medium and the stock to a boil, then add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain orzo and transfer to a large bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and parsley. Toss to combine.

Yield: 6 servings

Guess what we had for dinner last night? That’s right, leftovers. With all of that yummy meatloaf and chicken in the house, why cook?

This entry was posted in Recipes.

5 thoughts on “Slashed Chicken and ‘Saffron’ Orzo

  1. I’m trying this. I was in the grocery store a couple weeks ago and they had little bottles of saffron threads marked half off and the bottles were so pretty and actually priced where I could afford them so I bought one on a whim. I’ve been waiting for the right recipe and this would be it.

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