Notes: Instead of braising the ingredients for chicken cacciatore, we roast them here to intensify their natural sweetness. Serve the meat and vegetables with hot cooked polenta.
1 chicken (6 to 8 lb.)
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
14 cloves garlic, peeled
6 rosemary sprigs, rinsed
About 1 teaspoon salt
About 1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 red bell peppers (about 1 1/2 lb. total)
2 yellow bell peppers (about 1 1/2 lb. total)
2 onions (about 1 lb. total)
8 Roma tomatoes (about 2 lb. total)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup salt-cured black or calamata olives
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup fat-skimmed chicken broth
How to Make It
Remove giblets from chicken and reserve for other uses. Pull off and discard lumps of fat. Rinse bird well inside and out; pat dry. If desired, fold wing tips under first joint. Set bird breast up on a V-shaped rack in an 11- by 17-inch pan.
In a small bowl, mix chopped rosemary and basil. Starting at the neck, gently ease your fingers under skin to loosen it over breast. Push 1/3 of the rosemary-basil mixture under skin and spread evenly over breast. Place 6 garlic cloves and 3 rosemary sprigs in body cavity. Sprinkle chicken lightly with salt and pepper.
Rinse, stem, and seed red and yellow bell peppers; cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips. Peel onions and cut each into 6 wedges. Rinse and core tomatoes; cut in half lengthwise. Distribute peppers, onions, and remaining garlic around chicken in pan; spread level. Set tomatoes, cut side up, on pepper mixture and sprinkle vegetables with another 1/3 of the herb mixture, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; drizzle with olive oil.
Roast in a 425° regular or convection oven until vegetables begin to brown and a thermometer inserted through thickest part of breast to bone reaches 170°, or 180° through thickest part of thigh at joint, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours.
Insert a carving fork into chicken cavity, piercing carcass. Lift bird and tilt to drain juices into pan. Set chicken on a rimmed platter; let rest in a warm place about 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to a shallow bowl; sprinkle with olives and keep warm.
Skim and discard fat from pan; add vinegar, wine, broth, and remaining herb mixture. Stir often over high heat, scraping browned bits free, until reduced to 3/4 cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a small pitcher or bowl.
Garnish platter with remaining rosemary sprigs. Carve chicken and serve with vegetables. Add pan juices and salt and pepper to taste.