From the moment I heard of this method of preparing a roast chicken well over 20 years ago, this has remained one of my family's favorites. It is definitely my personal favorite, and if I could only roast a chicken using one method for the rest of my life ~ this would be it!
If you are lucky enough to get a chicken with skin entirely intact (no tears, or holes) ~ near the end of roasting time the skin will will puff up dramatically and have become crispy while the chicken beneath the skin remains juicy and succulent ~ as this one did. (But by the time I got the camera out it had deflated, no worry though because the chicken is delicious just the same.) Perfectly flavored whether served from the oven, or at room temperature.
It's a classic and simple recipe from one of my favorite cooking teachers and cookbook authors, Marcella Hazan.
One whole chicken, two lemons, salt and a little freshly ground black pepper produce some of the most succulent pieces of chicken you may ever taste.
I love Marcella's recipes, and although some may seem to be quite an undertaking because of the length ~ please don't let that put you off. It simply appears so because Ms. Hazan is such a great teacher that she explains each step and exactly why they are necessary to produce the desired results, which is enormously helpful, especially for a new cook.
The method is simple ~ rinse the chicken well, inside and out. Allow to drain for a few minutes after rinsing, then blot dry with a cloth or paper towels. Remove any visible bits of fat in the cavities of the bird and salt generously, inside and out. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.
Roll the lemons between your hands or on a counter to help release the juice. Poke the lemons many times with the tines of a fork or a wood pick.
Place the pricked lemons inside of the cavity of the chicken and secure with a couple of tooth or food picks. I tie the legs together with a bit of twine to help keep the chicken compact and the lemons in place.
Then roast, at first breast down, then turn over to continue roasting until done~ the chicken is self basting, no need to add fat or to baste.
Serve along with the succulent juices ~ and you'll probably taste one of the best roasted chickens you've had in your life.
As Linda (http://ciaochowlinda.blogspot.com/)
noted... sometimes the chicken skin will stick to the pan during the first part of baking (as the chicken is roasting breast-side-down.)
To prevent this~ I cut a small piece of parchment baking paper, brush with olive oil or butter and place it on the roasting pan beneath the chicken breast where it makes contact with the pan. When it is time to turn the bird over to continue baking (when breast side is UP) just remove the parchment paper. Yay! No stick, and NO torn chicken skin.
Forever grateful to Marcella Hazan for all she shares! I have several of her books, which I value highly ~ here is the first I ever purchased and I recommend it.
You probably noticed I roasted the chicken in one of my favorite cast iron skillets. Not fancy at all, but of all the roasting pans I have... stainless, porcelain, Le Creuset or Staub ~ I reach for my Lodge cast iron skillet almost every time for small roasted meats like this; just as my parents and grandparents did before me.
It's just large enough to add a few potatoes and/or carrots around the meat while roasting.
This one is a Lodge Logic-- no need to preseason the skillet. Just hand wash it and it is ready to use. I love my collection of great quality cookware ~ but I would never part with any of my black cast iron ... they heat evenly and are indestructible workhorse pieces in my kitchen.
I haven't asked for permission to share the exact recipe, but you can find it HERE on the Internet. If you try it, I hope it becomes one of your favorites, too.
Thank you for stopping by today ~ and I would love it if you would leave me your thoughts or any comments, I cherish each one. ~ Mari :)