I came up with a way to roast chicken that my husband loves so much that we have it every Sunday night. We call it Sunday chicken. I can’t remember when this all began but it had to be at least a dozen years ago. And — like revising a good story — I’ve been changing the recipe over time until finally I arrived at the version we like the best.
I’m not usually a pants-er when it comes to cooking, as I am with writing. I have lots of cookbooks and recipe clippings that I generally follow. That’s why creating a chicken recipe, for me, was more like writing a story: playing with ingredients to discover what would work best.
When this all started, I just roasted a chicken in a pan with a little olive oil and with garlic cloves stuffed under the skin. Later, I started chopping an onion into segments and tossing the onion pieces into the pan around the chicken. I soon added chopped pepper, one red and one green, to the mix. I baked it for about an hour and a half in a covered roasting pan. Eventually, I started drizzling both olive oil and soy sauce on the chicken and the peppers and onions.
But, like a good story, this recipe needed to be punched up a bit. So a couple of years ago, on a whim, I added a sliced jalapeno pepper to the mix. That tasted so good that I soon started substituting five or six jalapenos for the more ordinary bell peppers I had been using. (Slicing and seeding the jalapenos provides all the conflict this story needs.) I now toss the jalapeno slices in with the onions and on top of the chicken. I also scatter garlic cloves around the chicken as well as under the skin.
Then one time I forgot to put the lid on the pan before roasting and the skin became quite crispy. Delicious, but I missed the moistness that the covered lid had provided. So now I roast the chicken for about 45 minutes covered and remove the lid for the last 45 minutes or so until the chicken is done. Voila: a moist chicken with a lightly crisped skin.
For a well-balanced finish, I chop the roasted chicken up into a large bowl, add the peppers and onions and juices to the bowl, and serve that with a dish of steaming pasta. I top it all off with shredded parmigiano-reggiano.
And there we have it: solid characters, a well-timed plot, conflict, drama (those peppers can be hot!), and a satisfying ending.
Have you ever revised a recipe to make it better? Please share!
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