Like most simple-sounding dishes, roasted chicken is difficult to get right. Most of the time the bird is either too dry, too tough, or (horror of horrors) too pink to inspire confidence. Venus, a cozy Berkeley temple to seasonal, organic/sustainable comfort food, knows just how to bake a chicken to tender, juicy perfection. Chef Amy Murray starts with an organically raised free-range fowl from Hoffman Farms out in the San Joaquin Valley. It's enormous, this bird is, and full of flavor, and it emerges from the oven moist, fragrant, and absolutely palatable. Depending upon the season it might be accompanied by braised chard and pear-cranberry chutney or summer squash and black-eyed peas, but an ongoing source of pleasure are the puréed heirloom German butterball potatoes that are to your standed mashed taters as Devonshire cream is to Cool Whip. Dig in.
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