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Pastrami Roast Chicken + Rye Potatoes, Dill Pickles, and Fennel

It's the lovechild of a Katz's pastrami sandwich and a classic Sunday roast. A perfect world for me is one where I could, without consequence, eat a really, really, really good sandwich for nearly every meal every day. If you think about it, a well-built sandwich is the stuff of dreams- an orchestration of unique flavors, perfectly phrased textures that evolve from first bite to last, and, best of all, the warm embrace of really good bread.

This is what I love about this dish. The flavors equally contrast and complement: peppery, salty, tangy, rye-y, garlicky, oniony, and mustard-y. The textures leave you wanting more: crispy seasoned skin, tender chicken that literally falls off the bone, and roasted pickles that melt between bites of crunchy roast potatoes.


In a roasting pan

1 whole chicken, about 4 to 5 pounds

In a small bowl

2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns, lightly crushed

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

11/2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds, lightly crushed

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground paprika

2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds, lightly crushed

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

In a large bowl

1 1/2 pounds (681g) red potatoes

1 tablespoon of caraway seeds

1/2 teaspoon of whole yellow mustard seeds

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

6-8 garlic cloves, peels still on

1 medium fennel bulb, sliced

1/2 cup dill pickles, chopped into large pieces

3 tablespoons olive oil

On the sidelines

3 tablespoons potato starch



In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients from the black peppercorns to the dry mustard.


Unwrap your chicken and place it in a large roasting pan. Rub the chicken down with the dry rub. And I mean really rub it down; season every last inch of that bird, in the corners, under the wings, in the places you didn't know existed, and give the inside cavity a heavy dose of seasoning, too.


Place the roasting pan with your well-massaged chicken in the fridge overnight. Don't cover it with anything like plastic wrap or foil because we want to dry out the skin and let that salt do its diffusion thing.


The next day, prep your vegetables in a large bowl- everything from the potatoes to the olive oil. Stir to combine everything well, and preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.


Remove the roasting pan from the fridge and move the chicken to a plate. Spread the vegetable mixture on the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the middle of the pan.


Double check that your oven rack is in the middle position, and place the roasting pan in the center. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes.


After 15 minutes, drop the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and roast for another 75 minutes. About 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time, drizzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil on top of the chicken and finish cooking. Remove the roasting pan and check the bird's internal temperature; it should be between 160-165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.


Move the chicken to a plate to rest. Sprinkle the potato starch on the vegetables and stir to coat evenly. Bump the oven temperature up to 425 degrees F. Roast until the potatoes are browned, crispy, and sizzling. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes.


Carve up the bird after it has had a good rest- at least 20 -25 minutes. Serve with the slightly cooled potatoes.


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