This darling friend of mine has been giving a Hanukkah party every year for the last decade or more, and I've been going to them with my husband since 1996. Last year I brought a roast chicken, purchased. I was too stressed out to think of cooking anything. We had a terrific time at her party, but there wasn't enough protein. She sent her husband out half way through to buy more roast chickens.
The next day when I called to tell her how much I enjoyed myself - the latkes were delicious, the company grand, the house looked amazing - I also said - write down in your party notebook for next year that Leila will roast six chickens.
I'd been browsing this quantity cooking website. Don't ask me why. My father just died. I'm in grad school. I am not going to throw a party any time soon. But I just wanted to try out this chicken idea. It's called a Roast Chicken Melee.
Last week my friend, who claims not to be organized but does keep a party notebook she can find from one year to the next, called me to see what I might bring on Saturday night. Sure I'll cook the chickens, I said. I haven't forgotten. One day I'm going to feel like roasting chicken for a crowd, so I'll try this out on your party, for practice.
The trick: roast six chickens at once in a large roasting pan. Up-end the chickens so their legs are in the air; they will supposedly fit, and if you buy chickens within a few ounces of each other, they'll all cook at the same time, in about 70 minutes.
My plan is to use the spices from this recipe to marinate and then roast the half dozen chickens. I own a plebeian but sturdy enamel roasting pan, very large. If I can get a proper camera battery I will photograph this process and upload the pictures.