I’ve decided. People ask me all the time what my favorite thing to eat is and I can never choose. Something highly unlike me in most circumstances. But after making it last night for dinner, I’ve decided. Roast chicken. There is nothing more simple or more comforting that the delicious smell of roasting chicken. That a simple sprinkle of salt and pepper liberally rubbed over dry skin and the interior cavity of a bird could produce delicate, crispy skin and moist, tender meat is a gift of nature. Once roasted, it can be served sliced and with an elegant sauce or country style, carved at the table.
Last night I did it up simple and omitted the lemon and the rosemary. I served it with a Roasted Chestnut and Squash Risotto. The creamy, rich flavors of the rice complimented the cleaner, softer flavors of the chicken. A big salad of greens and vegetables and I was in heaven. If I were entertaining, I’d probably add the lemon or the rosemary and make the pan sauce too.
Lemon and Rosemary Chicken with Sea Salt
Roasting the chicken with the lemon underneath is a great way to add flavor and moisture to the dish.
4-6 pound chicken
1 lemon, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 tablespoon sea salt
3 sprigs rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
Preheat oven to 450º. Remove the small bag on the inside of the chicken and then cut off any excess fat around the opening. Cut off the wings and place them along with the lemon slices and the gizzards (what’s in the bag that was inside the chicken) on a roasting pan. With the breast side down, make lengthwise cuts on either side of the spine with a sharp chefs knife. Open the chicken up like you would a book. Pat the chicken with a paper towel to dry. Rub the whole chicken with salt and pepper and lay flat on top of the wings, lemon slices and gizzards, breast side up.
Roast for 15 minutes and then reduce oven temp to 375°. Roast for another 50 minutes depending on how large the chicken is. It is done when an internal thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 170-175º inserted into the thigh. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes. Carve and serve.
If you are feeling creative or have company coming, you can add this special touch to your dinner.
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup white wine
2/3 cup stock (or less)
Salt and pepper if needed
Once you’ve removed the chicken from the oven, transfer to a serving platter. Strain all of the juice from the pan into a measuring cup. Use any juice from the resting platter of chicken too. Skim off any fat. Add chicken stock to the remaining juice until it reaches 2/3 cup. Place the roasting pan over a burner on the stovetop. It’s okay if it doesn’t fit. Over medium-high heat add white wine to the pan and whisk. Add the stock and work any of the bits on the bottom of the pan into the stock.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Once fully incorporated and bubbling, add the liquid from the roasting pan. Whisk and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Test for seasoning and serve with the chicken.
Makes about a cup
Off to make a quick soup stock with my leftover bones