Italian GP 2018: Roast Chicken with Lemon

Chicken with Lemons

I love the intro Marcella Hazan gives this dish:  “If this were a still life its title could be ‘Chicken with Two Lemons’ " 

Simplicity is sometimes the best thing you can choose. The name of this dish is the recipe Roast Chicken with lemon(s). No oil or butter, no herb blend, beyond a couple lemons it is just the addition of a little salt, pepper, and heat. It self-bastes in the oven with the steam of the lemons and the fat of the chicken. By flipping it part way through, the breasts stay moist and the skin has a chance to crisp up to perfection. 

Chicken with Lemons Pieces

Roast Chicken with Lemon

From Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

A 3-4 pound chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
2 small lemons

1. Preheat oven to 350 F

2. Wash the chicken and dry well.

3. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper rubbing all over with your fingers on the outside and in the cavity.

4. Wash the lemons in cold water and dry them. Soften each lemon by rolling it on the counter using the palm of your hand to press it into the counter. Puncture the lemons at least 20 times with a toothpick or skewer.

5. Place both lemons in the bird’s cavity. Close the opening with toothpicks or truss it, being careful not to close it too tight as it could burst. Wrap kitchen string around the legs, not too tightly, just to keep them in place as the bird roasts .

6. Put the chicken in a roasting pan, breast facing down. No need to add any fat, this is a self-basting bird. After 30 minutes, turn the chicken over, trying not to break the skin, this helps the bird steam and the skin will puff up if in tact, but it is delicious either way. 

7. Cook for another 30 minutes, then turn oven up to 400F, and cook for an additional 20 minutes per additional pound over 3lbs, or until the thigh meat reaches 165 F.

8. Serve whole at the table and carve in front of guests. Spoon pan juices over the chicken pieces.