A tale of two chickens

I want to tell you a tale of two chickens...

Let's start at the beginning: First there was the egg and the egg was with fowl and the fowl was egg. Wait, sorry. Wrong story. Here we go again: It was the best of meals, it was the worst of meals, it was created by a professional, it was cobbled together by an amateur, it was tender, it was tough, it was bright and green, it was drab and brown, it was worthy of exclamation, it was outshone by the salad - in short, one chicken reigned supreme.

It was the year of two thousand and ten, in the month of May, and I roasted a chicken (legs, please) with new potatoes, stalks of asparagus and bright lemon wedges. The skin of the chicken was burnished, the potatoes bronzed, the asparagus smooth and grassy, the lemon silky and tart. It was perfect with a hunk of baguette.

It was the year of two thousand and ten, in the month of June, and I braised a chicken (breasts, ugh) with pale white cloves of new garlic, earthy morels and white wine. The garlic overpowered the morels, the pan juices weren't reduced enough, the chicken was overcooked and stringy, the wine old and resiny. It, well mostly the morels, still tasted good with a chunk of boule.

And thus though I speak of two chickens, I offer you but one recipe:

Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Asparagus and Lemon
From Martha Stewart

Easy-peasy. Martha suggests using a shallow roasting pan - 3 inches deep or less - for dark, crispy skin. I suggest using a combination of drumsticks and thighs. Not only are they more flavourful, they lack the tendency to overcook as breasts do.

1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, halved
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
about 3 lbs chicken pieces, skin-on, preferably bone-in
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
6 sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 475 F. Place the potatoes and half the butter in a roasting pan; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until the potatoes are golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Place the chicken, skin side up, on top of the potatoes; season with salt and pepper. Roast until the chicken begins to brown, about 20 minutes.

Scatter the asparagus, lemon wedges, remaining butter, and thyme around the chicken. Roast until the asparagus is tender and the chicken is opaque throughout, 5 to 15 minutes. Serve chicken, vegetables, and lemon wedges drizzled with pan juices.

Enough for 4.

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