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Who's Chicken?

A feisty spring bird
Chi Spacca
At Chi Spacca, the "chicken spice" is sometimes used to season chicken wings in addition to this roast bird.

Juicy, spicy, succulent: Meet the Chi Spacca roast chicken, a slow-cooked revelation from the hands of chef Chad Colby. Located next door to Osteria Mozza (a Nancy Silverton/Mario Batali/Joe Bastianich production) in Los Angeles, Chi Spacca is renown for Colby's house-made charcuterie and 42-ounce, bistecca Fiorentina. Those in the know go for his chicken, too. It's a marvel: Roasted on a bed of sliced onions instead of a rack, the chicken is heavily spiced with paprika, black pepper and cayenne before its languorous stint in the oven. Serve with plenty of crusty bread for mopping up the tender onions and tasty chicken jus.

Paprika-and-Pepper Roast Chicken (Pollo al Diavolo)

Recipe adapted from Chad Colby, Chi Spacca, Los Angeles

Yield: 4 servings

Cook Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes


1 Spanish onion, peeled and sliced into ¾-inch-thick rings

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

One 3- to 4-pound chicken, rinsed and patted dry

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 lemon, halved


1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Separate the onion rings and place them in the center of a roasting pan. In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper.

2. Set the chicken on a cutting board and rub it all over with the paprika spice mixture. Use kitchen twine to tie the base of the drumsticks together, slightly crossing one drumstick over the other. Tuck the wings behind the back and set the chicken on top of the onions, breast side up. Roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 275° and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh joint registers 175°, about 1 hour and 10 minutes longer.

3. Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Loosely tent the chicken with aluminum foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

4. Serve the chicken drizzled with the roasting juices and the olive oil. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with the lemon halves on the side.

Test Kitchen Approved

We collaborate with a lot of talented chefs and tinker with everything in our test kitchen. Our goal is to make sure every recipe works as well in your home kitchen as it does in ours. So go on, cook with confidence.


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