Roasted Chicken with Pears, Shallots, and Thyme

We woke to a thin dusting of snow yesterday, enough to make the roads slippery and require a quick shoveling.

Later in the yard of the brick Georgian across the parking lot from my office, I saw a huge flock of starlings, gleaning odd bits of food from the snow-covered yard and roosting in the trees, chattering away. I love their chatter on late autumn afternoons as it signals a turn of season.

There are other signs, too, many from the bird world, like the whistling swans I saw along the shore last week, and the skeins of Canada geese that continue to crisscross our leaden skies. The berries on our bushes have begun to turn red and the grasses along the bay and river are brown, a warm contrast to the cool grays of the sky and water.

It's really lovely out there. But cold.

At night we cook comforting meals. I roatsed my own bird tonight, and the aroma was wonderful. I found the recipe in the current issue of Body + Soul magazine: Chicken with Pears, Shallots and Thyme.

Since I followed it to the letter, and it's not posted on the magazine's Web site yet, I will simply tell you that it is a chicken stuffed with five sprigs of thyme, one lemon, three cloves of garlic and then roasted with three Anjou pears and eight shallots in a very hot oven. The aroma is heavenly while it is cooking, very seasonal. I love an autumn or winter meal roasting late into the night, filling the house with its aromas, wrapping around us with the promises of tastes to come.

My husband and I put read-and-green place mats on our dining table and enjoyed this dish by itself: Chicken in its glorious juices, along with tender shallots and almost-creamy pears. The roasting removes that metallic taste pears often have, and replaces it with a mellow sweetness.

With this dish, no sides are needed. But a green salad would have been a nice first course.

I saved every leftover morsel, and tomorrow I will make soup or stew. I should think something with root vegetables would be in order.

I can't wait...

Ok, here's the basic recipe: Rub a whole chicken with coarse sea salt and pepper, and stuff with three peeled garlic gloves, a quartered lemon and five sprigs of thyme. Roast at 450-475 for 15 minutes, then surround with 8 halved shallots and three quartered and cored pears. Add a few more thyme sprigs. Roast for another 40 minutes or so.


Kent McDonald said…
While I don't mind you're not posting the full recipe, please try to provide your readers with virtual bibs in the future...this looks mouthwatering!
My mouth is watering. Nothing fills the house with yummy aroma like a roasting chicken. MMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Pears? Huh . . . hadn't thought of that roasting buddy. I will definitely try this one soon. (Now if we could only lose the spring-like weather I'd get out of the garden and back into the kitchen!)
Virtual bibs - sure. I can do that, Kent.

Debbie, the aroma was as good as the meal.
Eileen said…
Sounds wonderful. It is definitely time for comfort foods in the upper Midwest.
Judy said…
Oh Mimi that sounds heavenly. I love roasted chicken. I stuff mine with a whole garlic cut in half and a whole lemon and with whatever herbs I have on hand. The shallots and pears would be wonderful. I think I love roasting a chicken because of the leftovers and soup and/or stew. I have a roasted pear recipe I'm going to have to post about. You just cut the pears in half and put a dollop of blue cheese in the center and bake. I don't remember what temp. They are divine though.
Yes, Eileen, it sure is. Not sure if I am ready for this.

Judy, that sounds excellent!
There is nothing more satisfying than producing a perfectly roasted chicken. I don't know why that's true, but it is. This looks like a perfect chicken!
It was as close to a perfect chicken as I have made, Lydia, but I have a long way to go...
Adam said…
With its crisp, salty skin, moist breast meat, and dense, meaty dark meat, a whole roast chicken appeals to everyone from a sophisticated diner to a finicky kid.


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Betty C. said…
Now what a spiffy idea! I often combine apples and chicken, but tend to forget about "pairing" with pears!
Betty, this was Really good - I would never have thought to do this either.

I bet it would taste better in France.

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