Something - a feeling in the air, a mood, too many condoms in the woods, a sore back - made me want the gentle heat and reviving spice of curry, but I also had a conflicting desire for simple, comforting roast chicken with potatoes underneath it.
What to do?
Then I remembered Charmaine Solomon's recipe for "Chicken Everest". The name is not explained, but she does say that her husband developed the recipe. I follow the spirit of the recipe but omit her rice flour, curry powder, paprika, salt, and curry leaves. And I add (a lot) more ginger and garlic...and potatoes!
2 medium potatoes for each person
Spice mix: [Updated 2/10/14]
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
2 Tablespoons grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 very juicy lemon)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garam masala
6 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
2 Tablespoons (or more) cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons warm water
Slice the potatoes. No need to peel.
Combine all the spice ingredients in a bowl and mix well into a sludgy paste. Spread this over and inside the chicken. Push some of the rub between the skin and the breast meat of the chicken and massage down to cover the breast.
Place the chicken on top of the bed of the potato slices in a cast iron skillet or roasting dish and roast at 450'F (220'C) for about an hour and a quarter for a medium-size boid, till brown and smelling wonderful. Add a little water to the pan every now and then if the potatoes dry out completely.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes on top of the stove, still in its dish.
Carve the bird, plate the pieces on a big warm dish or platter, and snuggle the potatoes in a heap beside the meat. Drizzle the pan juices over it all. Serve with fresh cilantro, and perhaps yogurt thinned with a little water and perked up with fresh mint, salt and cucumber slices.
The potatoes are creamy, soft and richly spiced. The chicken brown-skinned and complex. The yogurt soothing. Yummy.