Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lemon & Garlic Roast Chicken


If there's one dish I think everyone should know how to make, it's a roast chicken. Today, I had a cooking session with my friend Rich and he learned how to prepare the following recipe. Roast chicken is like a blank canvas where you can infuse any type of flavor you'd like using various spices, herbs, and other aromatics.

Using a recipe from Ina Garten, I thought this would be a great dish for Rich to prepare. This roast chicken used lots of lemon, heads of garlic, sprigs of fresh thyme and plenty of salt and pepper. However you can also add your own touches with other ingredients. In fact, one thing Rich did was threw in some sweet clementines he had on hand to add a bit of sweetness and to compliment the lemons used in the recipe. Another tip for making this or any roast chicken recipe is that you can use the leftovers in other recipes such as soups, sandwiches, salads, etc.

Lemon & Garlic Roast Chicken
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

1 (5-6 pound roasting chicken
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme
4 lemons
3 heads garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 pound sliced bacon
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the thyme, reserving enough thyme to garnish the chicken dish, 1 lemon, halved, and 2 halves of the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Cut 2 of the lemons in quarters and scatter the quarters and remaining garlic around the chicken. Lay the bacon slices over the chicken to cover.

Roast the chicken for 1 hour. Remove the bacon slices from the top of the chicken and set aside. Continue roasting the chicken for an additional 1/2 hour, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove to a platter and cover with aluminum foil while you prepare the gravy.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the bottom of the pan. Add the wine and chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until reduced by half.

Slice the chicken on a platter. Garnish the chicken platter with the bacon slices, roasted garlic, reserved thyme and 1 lemon, sliced. Serve with the gravy.