Friday, February 01, 2019

Roast Chicken with Lemon

Looks like I'm on a lemon kick. A great time of year to do that, too. Lemons are in season in the northern hemisphere where they grow, so take advantage of their freshness for some cooking fun!

Things have been hectic but fun since I last posted. Sweetie's back is so much better and he is now doing PT. One of my sisters is having surgery today for a condition that manifested in August, so at last she will be able to heal. A brother-in-law avoided surgery this week and another one is healing his heart through diet and a few meds. A good friend is in rehab after open heart surgery...lots of health issues, including a trip over a curb myself that seems OK but I did hit my head on a wall...

On the fun side, I visited my daughter in LA and had a blast with movie watching, great food, dinners with friends, walks on the beach and at a botanical garden and lots and lots of sunshine...hardly seemed like January! Here are the awesome women who dined together on Saturday.

A over a week ago (before I took the trip to LA) I made an awesome roast whole chicken with lemon. It is relatively quick, it is easy and the results are truly mouthwatering. There really are only a few ingredients, too: chicken, olive oil, fresh thyme, garlic cloves and salt and pepper, plus three lemons.

I happen to have a nice oval cast iron baker with lid that works perfectly for this recipe, but a heavy pot with oven-safe lid or even a lid made from doubled heavy duty aluminum foil would work. I was inspired by a recipe that I'd seen in a Dorie Greenspan cookbook with a technique for sealing in the juices when you roast chicken, so I made a paste of flour and water and used it to seal the lid to the pan until 15 minutes before the chicken was done when I removed both 'bread' sealer and lid so that the chicken could brown during the last 15 minutes.

This chicken cooks at a fairly high temperature, but sealing in all the moisture meant that the chicken was very moist and that there was a fair amount of pan juices to enjoy with the chicken once it was served. Be sure to have some good bread handy to sop up the juices. We had it with a nice green salad. That and some bread is all you need for a satisfying meal.

The recipe is from Williams-Sonoma and it's worth bookmarking.

Simple Roast Chicken with Lemons
Serves 4

1 whole chicken, about 4 1/2 lbs (2.25 kg)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 lemons, halved
1 large fresh thyme sprig (I used lemon thyme from our garden)

Preheat the over to 425 degrees F (220 C)

Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Rub the chicken all over with the olive oil, and season generously inside and out with salt and pepper.

Put the garlic, 2 lemon halves and the thyme sprig in the cavity. Tuck the wing tips behind the back. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.

Put the chicken, breast side up, in a 4 1/2 quart (4.5 l) deep baker. Insert a smart thermometer into the chicken breast according to manufacturer's instructions (I skipped that). Place the remaining lemon halves around the chicken. (If wanting to seal as I did, make a paste of flour and water and put a rope of it all around the top of the baker where the lid will go, then cover the baker with the lid to seal.) Cover  the baker with the lid.

Transfer to the oven and roast the chicken until the thermometer registers 160 degrees F (71 C), 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, removing the lid during the last 10 to 15 minutes of roasting to brown the skin. (I removed the lid permanently and then used an instant read thermometer to check temperature at one hour and then checked it again a short while later.)

Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Pour the pan juices into a gravy boat. Carve the chicken and serve the juices alongside. Serves 4

Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen

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