Ground coriander, cumin and/or ginger can be combined with the cinnamon or used in place of it, and the proportions can be increased or diminished according to taste. Make the cinnamon butter in larger quantities and store in the freezer, keeping a small jar in the refrigerator for current consumption. A simple green salad with a very light dressing is the best accompaniment.
The butter also works well with pheasant. (For a young bird of about 1 3/4 pounds, the timing and temperature are as for the chicken, but the pheasant should be wrapped in well-buttered parchment paper or foil.)–Elizabeth David
LC Subtle Is As Subtle Does Note
Sometimes something subtle can have just as strong an effect as something that slams you in the face. Take this baked chicken, which relies on a simple yet nonetheless enthralling spice-infused butter for its–you guessed it–subtle fragrance and flavor. Subtle is as subtle does…or something like that.
Baked Chicken with Cinnamon Butter
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 1 H, 45 M
- Serves 4
- For the cinnamon butter
- 2 tablespoons jarred green peppercorns, drained (optional)
- 1 small sliver garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Scant 1 teaspoon salt (less if you’re using salted butter)
- For the chicken
- One 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken
- 2 to 3 bay leaves
- Frisee, watercress, mache, or other tender young greens
- 1 lemon, cut into quarters
- Make the cinnamon butter
- 1. Take a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a chef’s knife and crush the peppercorns, if using, garlic, and cinnamon until well combined. Work the butter into the mixture and, when thoroughly mashed together, work in the salt. Store in a small covered jar in the refrigerator.
- Prepare the chicken
- 2. Lift the skin of the chicken and rub the salt and then most of the cinnamon butter all over the flesh, making a few gashes with a small sharp knife in the drumsticks and thick part of the legs so that the spices will penetrate. Put a little more of the butter inside the chicken. If possible, leave the hen at room temperature for an hour or two before cooking.
- 3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and adjust the rack to the center position.
- Bake the chicken
- 4. Place the chicken and bay leaves in a shallow baking dish into which it will just fit. [Editor’s Note: We find that a large cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch baking dish works just fine.]
- 5. Roast the chicken, uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally with the juices. At the end of the cooking time the skin should be beautifully golden and crisp. Let the chicken rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
- Serve the chicken
- 6. Carve the chicken and serve it alongside the salad. Pour the buttery pan juices, minus the bay leaves, into a little sauceboat and place it on the table with the lemon wedges, both of which are lovely on the chicken as well as the salad.