I’m well aware that asparagus are no longer in season but I’m hoping that you’ll forgive me. I’ve been working so hard at eating in season but a couple of weeks ago I was overtaken by an overwhelming desire for asparagus. They were talking to me loud and clearly and I felt uneasy turning down what they had to offer. I mean who says no to a bunch of glistening green asparagus claiming they would do mind-blowing things in your mouth if you roasted them in a pan or roast chicken drippings with chickpeas. I think you would have picked up a bunch too.
So, I slipped and I didn’t even look at the label telling me which southern hemisphere country they had come from. I snapped the woody ends, tossed them with a cup of chickpeas in the pan of sticky chicken drippings whilst the roasted bird rested and then mixed them with a handful of microgreens and the caramelized slices of lemon, garlic and shallots that the chicken had roasted on. And for those of you who are ready to pick me up on the fact that microgreens are not in season, yes you are correct they were gorgeous hydroponics from Chef’s Garden that we had left over from filming.
So, yes, I did in fact slip-up twice.
The asparagus were right, though. Mind-blowing things did happen in my mouth. So I felt pretty chuffed that I’d listened to them and not that slightly annoying do-gooder on my right shoulder who’s always nagging me to buy locally and in season.
On a plus note the chicken chicken checked all the food-angel boxes- organic, local, free-range and pasture-raised. I covered it with thyme leaves, lemons and a couple of slices of bacon to help protect the breasts from over cooking.
So do I feel guilty. Marginally. Mind-blown? Totally.
This recipe is featured here on the US Wellness meats website. They have a mission that I love: Do what’s good for our animals, good for our planet and good for you.
Lemon & thyme roast chicken with asparagus & chickpea salad
Nothing beats a roast chicken, except perhaps a grassfed one. I like to buy a small one so that Don and I can share it with just enough left for a sandwich the next day.
For the chicken:
2 1/2- 3 lb grass-fed/ pasture-raised free range chicken (ideally)
a few sprigs thyme
freshly ground black pepper
2 slices smoked bacon
2 large shallots
1 garlic bulb
1 Tbsp olive oil
For the salad:
1/2 bunch thin asparagus
1 cup cooked chickpeas
handful of mixed greens, herbs or microgreens
Heat the oven to 425°F. Wash the chicken and dry it really well. Pull the leaves off of half of the thyme sprigs. Cut the lemon in half, cut one half into thin slices and cut the other half into thick half moon slices. Cut the slices of bacon in half- if they are really thick then use the back of a knife to gently stretch them. Peel the shallots and chop into thick wedges. Slice the garlic in half through the middle, horizontally. Cut the woody ends off of the asparagus.
1/ Sprinkle the thyme leaves over the chicken breast side up. Lay the thin lemon slices down the middle of the backbone and then cover with the breasts with slices of bacon.
2/ Heat the oil in a small roasting pan and place in the preheated oven for 1 minute. Remove from the pan and toss in the remaining lemon, shallots, garlic and a few extra sprigs of thyme. Place the chicken on top.
3/ Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes- check and rotate after 20 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the bacon and lemon slices from the chicken breasts and reserve. Return the chicken to the oven so that the skin will crispen up.
4/ After 45 minutes check to see that the chicken is done by piercing the thickest part of the leg. If the juices run clear, then you’re golden. You do not want to overcook the chicken or it will go dry. Whilst the chicken is resting toss the asparagus and chickpeas into the pan with the vegetables and the reserved lemon slices and cook for a further 10 minutes. Chop up the reserved bacon and toss with the pan vegetable and mixed greens of choice to serve.