I love French food and wine…and I love eating and drinking local. These two loves inspired me to create a local version of a typical French dish: oven-roasted chicken with vegetables and herbs de Provence. Of course, this is using local Chardonnay – in the dish…and in my glass.
In a Santa Barbara County garden you can find rosemary, lemon thyme, basil and chives. And garlic, of course! Also, fennel is a bountiful crop on California’s central coast, which you can usually substitute for celery, instead of a traditional mirepoix (French base of onion, carrot and celery). Browning the chicken before roasting gives it a richer flavor than more simple roasts and the end result is a savory, delicious one-pot meal that pairs perfectly with the subtle body and flavors of a well-balanced Chardonnay. Think citrus and pear instead of oakey-buttery – find one fermented in steel or concrete if possible.
Also, try this Winter Squash Chardonnay Risotto.
- 1 4-pound chicken
- 3 cups Chardonnay (look for well-balanced, citrusy and flinty)
- 1 cup olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 8 cloves garlic: 6 whole, 2 diced
- 3 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs (like lemon thyme, rosemary, basil, chives, marjoram) or 1 tablespoon mixed dried herbs
- 2 lemons: 1 sliced, 1 juiced
- ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- Salt, to taste
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 1 small green cabbage, cored and quartered
- In large bowl, combine the Chardonnay, 1 cup olive oil, diced garlic, herbs, lemon juice, pepper and salt. Place chicken in the mixture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for 6 hours. Turn occasionally.
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Heat remaining olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, fennel and garlic cloves and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. When the vegetables are caramelized, spoon them along the sides of the pan.
- Remove chicken from marinade and add to the middle of the pan. Sear each side until slightly brown, about 3 minutes per side. Arrange the quartered cabbage around the sides of the chicken and pour the marinade into the pan over the chicken and vegetables.
- Cover the pan with a lid and roast in the oven for 60-70 minutes, until the chicken is done (meat is cooked through when cut, leg separates easily from the body, or 170 degrees on meat thermometer). Remove lid and let it rest at room temperature 10 minutes.