Grilled Baby Chickens with Vegetables

Ingredients

8 fresh baby chickens, about 1 lb each
2 lemons, halved and grilled
16 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
8 small rosemary sprigs
4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Roasted Pearl Onions with Saffron

1 tbsp + 1 tsp unsalted butter
32 pearl onions, peeled
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups stock
1 tsp saffron

Oven-Reduced Tomatoes

8 small yellow tomatoes, quartered and seeds removed
8 red plum tomatoes, quartered and seeds removed
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped fresh thyme leaves for sprinkling

Method

  1. To prepare tomatoes: Preheat oven to 200°F (93°C).
  2. Line tomato quarters on baking sheet 1/2-inch apart. Drizzle oil over tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with thyme. Bake 3 to 4 hours, or until tomatoes have reduced in size 40%. Tomatoes will become rich and jammy. If tomatoes excrete liquid reduce oven temperature. Can be prepared in advance.
  3. To prepare roasted pearl onions: Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  4. In medium ovenproof skillet, over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp of the butter until it begins to foam. Add onions, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Saute until onions colour lightly. Add wine and deglaze, cooking until reduced by half. Add stock and saffron and simmer 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and braise about 90 minutes, or until onions are soft and liquid has almost completely reduced. Return skillet to stove top to reduce liquid completely and allow golden colour to strengthen. Just prior to serving, place the remaining 1 tsp of the butter on onions.
  5. To prepare baby chickens: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  6. Stuff each chicken cavity with 1/4 of grilled lemon, 2 cloves garlic, 1 sprig rosemary, 1/2 tsp sea salt and pinch of cracked black pepper. Truss birds in usual fashion and season exterior with olive oil, salt and pepper. (If desired, to enhance lemon flavour, grill 4 additional lemons, halved and rub outside of each chicken with 1/2 lemon.)
  7. Chickens can be roasted on rotisserie, if available, or in roasting, pan about 1 hour or until thigh juices run clear. Remove strings and serve immediately.

Makes 16 servings.

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