Italian Roast Chicken with Bell Peppers & Olives
A roast chicken always feels celebratory; indeed, a roast chicken always is celebratory. The vibrantly colored and intensely flavored vegetables that are cooked alongside here seem only to underline this, offering their own brightness and brio, sunny in taste as well as mood.
If you had a really huge roasting pan--and a really huge oven to put it in--you could happily double the amount of vegetables; as it is, think of the soft tangle of leeks and bell peppers, punctuated by the salty olives, more as an accompanying sauce. The chicken will feed 4, and could stretch to 6 but that will give you only a spoonful of the vegetables each. I add a crisp green salad and a Pugliese loaf, or any other good bread I can use to soak up the scant but flavorsome vegetables and their juices. My children like some simply cooked soup pasta--orzo or miniature bow-ties--dressed in a little butter or olive oil and served alongside, as well.
Preheat the oven to 400A[degrees]F. Untruss the chicken, sit it in a roasting pan, and put the lemon halves and 2 of the rosemary sprigs into the chicken's cavity.
Cut each leek into 3 logs, then slice lengthwise and add to the pan. Now, remove the core and seeds of the bell peppers and slice them into strips, following their natural curves and ridges, and add these to the pan.
Tumble in the olives, and now pour the olive oil, mostly over the vegetables but a little over the chicken, too. …