Monday, November 19, 2007

Roast Lemon Chicken

  • 1 cup kosher salt or 1/2 cup table salt
  • 1 whole chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds
  • 2 medium lemons
  • 6 medium cloves of garlic crushed and peeled
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 tablespoons melted, remaining 2 tablespoons chilled and cut into 2 pieces)
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

1. Dissolve salt in 2 quarts water in large container. Submerge chicken in brine and refrigerate 1 hour. Remove chicken from brine and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.

2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray V-rack with cooking spray and set in flameproof roasting pan.

3. Cut 1 lemon lengthwise into quarters. Place lemon quarters and garlic in cavity of chicken. Thread long wooden skewer through flaps of skin on either side of cavity. Turn skewer and rethread back through skin flaps. Repeat stitching as necessary to shut cavity. Brush breast side of chicken with 1 tablespoon melted butter and season generously with pepper. Place chicken breast-side down in V-rack, then brush back with remaining tablespoon melted butter and season generously with pepper. Roast chicken 40 -minutes. Remove roasting pan from oven; increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Using 2 large wads of paper towels, rotate chicken breast-side up; add 1 cup chicken broth to roasting pan. Return roasting pan to oven and continue roasting until thickest part of thigh registers 165 to 170 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 35 to 40 minutes longer. Remove roasting pan from oven; tip V-rack to let juices from chicken cavity run into roasting pan. Transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest, uncovered, while making sauce; remove V-rack from roasting pan.

4. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position; heat broiler. Skim fat from drippings in roasting pan, add remaining 3/4 cup chicken broth, and set roasting pan over high heat on burner. Simmer liquid, scraping pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 4 minutes; set aside off heat.

5. Discard lemons and garlic from chicken cavity. Following illustrations from "Step by Step: Quartering the Chicken After Roasting", cut chicken into quarters. Pour accumulated chicken juices into roasting pan, then place chicken quarters, skin-side up, into sauce in roasting pan; broil chicken until skin is crisp and deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to serving platter.

6. Halve remaining lemon lengthwise; squeeze juice of one half into roasting pan; cut remaining half into 4 wedges and set aside. Whisk 2 tablespoons butter into sauce until combined; stir in parsley and thyme. Adjust -seasoning with salt and pepper; serve chicken with sauce and lemon wedges.

from Cooks Illustrated

Yield: 2-4 servings

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