Easiest roast chicken...EVER!

I have been reading on several blogs (totally unrelated people living on different continents) of people raving about Marcella Hazan's roast chicken with lemons. (anyone who wants to learn about Italian cooking should start with her books) I have to admit, I had doubts. The reviews generally said "It is the best roast chicken ever!" When I read the recipe, I thought it may overcook it, since the cooking time is a good 20-25 minutes longer than my standard roast chicken recipe (400F oven for ~1 hr). And it doesn't even have butter. And it has lemon "stuffing." I was very skeptical. But since it is such a simple recipe, trying it took no effort. And like this title suggests, it is the easiest preparation evah!! But not only that, the chicken was juicy and tender in the breast as well as the legs and thighs. Unbelievably tasty! The lemons in the cavity may have helped absorbed and distributed the heat to help the chicken cook more evenly. The lemon juice also might have tenderized the meat. To quote Marcella, if this dish was a painting, its name would "Chicken with two lemons." Next time, when you want an easy dinner, pick up a chicken and two lemons, and follow Marcella's wisdoms.

Recipe: Roast Chicken with Lemons
(serves ~2 people)

1 chicken (3-4 lbs)
2 small lemons
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Rinse chicken with cold water. Let it sit at an angle to drain out excess water for ~5-10 minutes. Pat it dry inside and out with paper towels.
3. Salt and pepper the chicken all over and inside the cavity
4. Roll the lemons with your palms on a cutting board to soften them. Use a toothpick, poke at least 20 holes in each lemon.
5. Stuff the lemons into the chicken cavity. Roughly close the cavity opening with kitchen twines or trussing needles.
6. Place chicken breast side down in a roasting pan. Roastin the upper 3rd of the oven for 30 minutes. Turn breast-side up, and roast for another 30 minutes.
7. Increase oven temp to 400F. Roast for an additional 20-25 minutes.
8. Let chicken rest at room temp for a while before carving. Meanwhile, make gravy with some chicken stock/white wine/vermouth, butter, and corn starch if desired.

PS. Along with the chicken, I placed sliced potatoes, carrots, and onions around the chicken during the roasting process. They turned out yummy too, after absorbing the chicken juice and fat. It is literally a one-pan dinner.


Anonymous said…
I would use flour instead of corn starch for the gravy :) But I LOVE this recipe.

Albertitto said…
wow, I actually have at least one loyal reader! Heehee! Yeah, I think flour is more appropriate, but I hate getting my hands dirty (having to rub flour into the butter first) and the butter was not softened...Oh well, it was a very rustic dinner anyway. Just wing it any way we want.
John said…
Do you truss up the chicken at all? Or do you just leave the wings hanging open?
Albertitto said…
No trussing. Marcella did suggest tying the legs with twine -- not pulling them tight, but just keeping them in their natural position. This is to prevent them from moving too far apart and cracking the skin open, spilling the juices. So I tied them this way (one knot on each leg, and not pulling on the legs), and the legs didn't move much anyway. I didn't do anything to the wings. We don't usually eat the wings anyway. We each had a breast, a thigh, and a drumstick, and that was enough. The chicken was 3.26 lbs.
charles said…
happy new year, albert.

any yummpy chinese new year dishes to share with us?

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