What better dish than a beautifully roasted chicken accompanied by golden wedges of mouthwatering potatoes all prepared to perfection in the wood-fired oven? Rubbed with fresh herbs, marinated with fresh lemon juice overnight, and finally roasted with the heat of the wood-fired oven, this chicken will be tender, juicy and full of rich flavor. The roasted wedges of potatoes cooked directly in the reduction in the pan, will create a dish that will certainly be a hit for any gathering with friends and family. Let's get started!
1/2 cup oil to mix with the herbs and little extra for the pan
8-9 medium Yukon gold potatoes
Getting the wood-fired oven started on cooking day:
On the day of roasting the chicken, preheat the Marinara wood-fired oven to 425-450°F - 220-230°C. The preparation of this dish will require the chicken to rest in the refrigerator overnight.
On the day of cooking, turn the damper on the chimney all the way to an open position in order to ensure a good draw inside the oven chamber. The damper handle must be placed vertically to be completely open. This will ensure a good draw inside the oven chamber.
Start the fire by placing a small piece of fire starter on one side of the oven floor where the small, dry kindling pieces of wood are stacked. With the help of a torch, or a match light the fire starter and the kindling.
Once there is an active flame in the kindling, add larger pieces of chopped wood. These should be dry and well seasoned, and should be of a diameter of about 1.5" to 2". Add small pieces of chopped hardwood and place them directly over the burning kindling. Close the door. Once there is an active fire going turn the damper to 45° degrees and allow the oven to heat up. During the next 35-40 minutes, small pieces of chopped wood may need to be added to keep the fire going.
With the help of the infrared thermometer pointed on the stone where the chicken will be placed, check the temperature of the oven. The ideal temperature for the chicken should be at 425°- 450°F - 220°- 230°C. Make sure to avoid large flames billowing across the dome of the oven as this would charr the surface of the chicken.
Once the cooking chamber has reached the desired temperature, it can be controlled in several ways. The size of the wood added to the oven is an important factor. Smaller pieces of chopped wood are ideal to control the intensity and size of the flames. Another factor is the position of the damper on the chimney which easily allows the control of the temperature inside the oven chamber. Lastly, the position of the door in front of the oven opening can also influence more or less heat retention.
Preparation of the chicken:
The day before roasting the chicken, finely mince the parsley, sage, rosemary, garlic and cayenne pepper as shown in the video. A Mezza Luna is what was used in the video to mince the herbs and garlic, but a knife will get the job done as well.
Transfer the minced herbs into a bowl and mix in salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil, reserving the squeezed lemon shells for later.
Thoroughly coat the entire chicken with the herb mixture. Gently lift the skin from the meat, both breast and back side, and rub the herb mixture even under the skin making sure not to rip the skin. Rub some of the mixture inside the cavity of the bird, and insert the lemon shells inside.
Transfer the chicken in a food safe container, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Roasting of the chicken and potatoes:
The next day preheat the oven as described above, and remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Drizzle some olive oil into the pan and before placing the bird in the preheated oven to roast, check the temperature by pointing the infrared thermometer directly on the stone where the pan will be placed.
As the intensity of the fire is a very important factor when roasting, it can be controlled in several ways explained in the first part of this post.
When the temperature and the intensity of the fire are where they need to be, place the pan into the preheated oven at 425-450°F. Initially keep the bird uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until the skin has browned and become crispy. Make sure to baste the entire surface of the chicken by bringing the pan to the mouth of the oven and brushing it with its own juices.
After 20-25 minutes allow the temperature of the oven to drop to 400°F. Baste the entire chicken once again, and cover it with a lid (we used another roasting pan) or aluminum foil. Continue basting the chicken every 15 minutes for the next hour.
While the chicken is roasting, peel and cut the potatoes into wedges and place them in water for about 20 minutes to soak. This will remove some of the starch and will allow the potatoes to become crispy when baked.
Before adding the potatoes, add a splash of white wine to the reduction and place back in the oven until cooked out.
After one hour, remove the potatoes from the water and add them around the chicken mixing them well with the juices in the pan as well as a good sprinkling of salt. Place additional sprigs of rosemary, sage leaves and cloves of garlic with the skin on (aglio in camicia), over the potatoes.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil just over the chicken. Roast for an additional 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through and have browned.
Carefully remove from the oven and serve with a nice salad. Enjoy!