Spring chicken: Bill Scatena’s favorite seasonal recipe

Photo: Andrea Hubbell Photo: Andrea Hubbell

To a chef, a new season means a chance to spruce up the menu. We asked Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards’ executive chef, Bill Scatena, to share one thing he’s excited to start cooking this spring.

“My inspiration for this dish [comes from] cooking chicken on a little Weber grill in between high school and college. It was one of the first proteins I gained confidence cooking with. My dad also showed me how to roast poultry the proper way—whole birds, to be exact (i.e. proper trussing, roasting technique, brines, etc.).

I source the onions from Manakintowne—they also have other wonderful alliums, all of which we are eager to use again this year.

For the Aleppo chile, I stumbled upon it at a farmers market one weekend when I lived in Colorado for a few years. The flavor is a bit more piquant than that of an ancho—which is smoky and earthy—but the same spice level, roughly. It’s a very forgiving spice with a moderate heat level.”

Roasted whole chicken with spring onion and Aleppo chile

1 pasture-raised whole chicken (giblets removed, rinsed and patted dry)

2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

2 bunches of green onions (bulbs reserved and stalks thinly sliced)

8 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)

1 1/2 tbs. coarsely ground Aleppo chile (similar to ancho chile)

2 tsp. minced thyme

1 lemon, cut in half

4 tbs. butter, room temperature

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a food processor, add the butter, garlic, onion stalks, Aleppo chile and thyme. Mix until the butter has incorporated evenly. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then gently rub the butter underneath the skin in all nooks and crannies. Stuff the chicken with half a lemon and the reserved onion bulbs, then truss the legs tightly before cooking. Pour the olive oil over the chicken and season with salt and pepper to preference and place in the oven in a roasting pan. Cook for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 45 minutes, basting with pan juices every 15 minutes. Insert a thermometer into the thigh section and at 165 degrees, pull the chicken out, squeeze lemon juice over the top with the remaining lemon half and let it rest for 15 minutes. Carve and plate with the soft spring onions and pan juices. Serves 4