[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]
Note: Consider using Dunbarton Blue in place of standard blue cheese. It’s a blue-veined cheddar from fourth-generation Wisconsin cheesemaker Chris Roelli. It sports the nuttiness of a Parmesan, the pungency of blue cheese, and the crystallization of a good aged cheddar. It’s available in some well-stocked cheese stores and online at igourmet.com.
About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of “Food Lovers’ Guide to Chicago.” Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.
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Special equipment: Roasting pan
serves serves 4, active time 30 minutes, total time 1 1/2 hours
- 1 large whole chicken (5 to 6 pounds total)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon grated zest and 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
- 2 pounds kale, tough stalks removed
- 1 small white onion, minced (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought low sodium chicken broth
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Brush the outside of chicken with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, thyme and lemon zest. Drizzle with lemon juice. Transfer chicken to oven to cook, basting periodically, until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F and the breast registers at least 145°F, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
While chicken cooks, bring a large pot of salted to a boil. Add kale and cook until barely tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain kale, rinse under cold water, and cut into ribbons. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the kale, heavy cream, onion powder, and pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 4 minutes. Add Parmesan and cook until cream has reduced and thickened, about 1 minute longer. Cover and keep warm while chicken finishes cooking.
When chicken is done cooking, place roasting pan on stove top over medium-high heat and add wine and stock. Bring to a boil, scraping browned bits off of bottom. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Carve chicken, drizzle with sauce, and sprinkle with hazelnuts and blue cheese. Serve immediately with additional gravy and creamed kale.