Happy New Year!
This holiday season I was off work December 23rd to January 2nd. Alyssa and Jill and Allen were also all home, and we did a lot of cooking. On New Year's Eve Alyssa made meatballs and spaghetti (1st time Marcella Hazan, 2nd time Bobby Flay recipe), then she and Jill left for separate parties. On New Year's Day (today) Alyssa made Buffalo Wings and I made Cuban Black Bean Soup. Other dishes we made over the break were this chicken, baby back ribs, pork barbecue, pot stickers, crepes with Nutella and banana, and I made and froze some Asian meatballs for a future meal. All recipes are either posted or forthcoming.
Hardly any sweets! Unbelievable.
I'm pretty sure this Marcella Hazan recipe will be my go-to recipe for roast chicken from now on. It's easy and straightforward. Just like I think it's supposed to be. No brine, no rubbing herbs under the skin, no onions tossed hither and fro, no broth or butter or oil or peppercorns for Pete's sake. No basting, no fancy trussing, no fussing.
Just salt and pepper all over, stick a lemon or two in the cavity, truss with toothpicks, tie legs loosely in their natural position. Plop in a dry pan breast side down, turn it breast side up 30 minutes later, and that's about it.
As Ms. Hazan's recipe foreword describes it, "After you put the chicken in the oven you turn it just once. The bird, its two lemons, and the oven do all the rest." That's absolutely true.
I don't like cutting a bird at the table. Very unattractive. So in the future I'll cut it in the kitchen and serve it on a platter. Also, Nigella Lawson says her mother used to roast two chickens at a time, one to serve that day and one to keep in the fridge to pick at through the week, or use in another recipe. Good idea.
UPDATE: I purchased a Granite Wear roasting pan (photo below) from Walmart for $13 that works great and cleans up perfectly. Many years ago, I refused to go into Walmart because I think they are one of the reasons small businesses can't make it and American manufacturing is being outsourced. But with the economy I can't try to save the world by myself. We need to change bigger things in this country than where Jenna shops. But at least this pan is American made, so that helps. Same pan with Martha Stewart's name on it at Macy's is $20.
I know I know. This is the weirdest bird I've even bought, a separate one from the top photos. Broken wing, skin slightly strange in places, not perfectly de-feathered. But oh well. It's an Amish chicken so it was a very nice quality otherwise. Mainly I wanted to show the pan and how much liquid comes from the chicken, with no oil or buttered added.
Roast Chicken with Lemons
Compliments of JennaDish
from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
A 3- to 4-pound chicken
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
2 small lemons (or 1 large)
PREHEAT oven to 350o.
WASH the chicken thoroughly in cold water, both inside and out. Remove all the bits of fat hanging loose. Let the bird sit about 10 minutes on a slightly tilted plate to let all the water drain out of it. Pat it thoroughly dry all over with cloth or paper towels.
SPRINKLE a generous amount of salt and black pepper on the chicken, rubbing it with your fingers over all its body and into its cavity.
WASH the lemons in cold water and dry them with a towel. Soften each lemon by placing it on a counter and rolling it back and forth as you put firm downward pressure on it with the palm of your hand. Puncture the lemons in at least 20 places each, using a sturdy round toothpick or similar implement.
PLACE both lemons in the bird's cavity
CLOSE up the opening with toothpicks or with trussing needle and string. Close it well, but don't make an absolutely airtight job of it because the chicken may burst. Run kitchen string from one leg to the other, tying it at both knuckle ends. Leave the legs in their natural position without pulling them tight. If the skin is unbroken, the chicken will puff up as it cooks, and the string serves only to keep the thighs from spreading apart and splitting the skin.
PUT the chicken into a roasting pan, breast facing down. Do not add cooking fat of any kind. This bird is self-basting, and will not stick to the pan (I can attest to this). Place it in the upper third of the preheated oven. After 30 minutes, turn the chicken over to have the breast face up. When turning it, try not to puncture the skin.
COOK for another 30 to 35 minutes, then turn the oven thermostat up to 400o. and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Calculate between 20 and 25 minutes' total cooking time for each pound. There is no need to turn the chicken again.
You can leave the lemons in while carving and spoon the juice over the sliced chicken.