This South American-inspired olive oil-rich pesto elevates simple roasted chicken and packs an herby punch.
- 1 3-1/2- to 4-pound chicken
- 2 tablespoons, separated, plus 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup hulled green pumpkin seeds (pepitas), unsalted
- 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, rinsed and patted dry
- 1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons water, more as needed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Place the chicken on a rack in a shallow roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Rub the chicken with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season the inside and outside generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 60 to 70 minutes or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of a thigh is 165°F. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
While the chicken is roasting, prepare the pesto. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a medium-hot skillet, and add the pumpkin seeds. Sauté until the seeds begin to pop, about 2 minutes, but don’t let them burn. Cool, and then transfer the seeds to the bowl of a food processor. Add the cilantro, parsley, garlic, water, lime juice, and cumin, and pulse several times. With the machine running, slowly add 1/3 cup olive oil until you get a purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add more lime juice if needed. (If it’s too thick, add additional water, one tablespoon at a time.) Serve with the chicken. Refrigerate any leftover pesto to use as a dip.
Yields 2-3 servings