Friday, February 19, 2010

Roast Lemon Chicken

This lemon chicken recipe is hands down the best I've ever made. In fact, I don't think I'll ever even look at another recipe again. The chicken was flavorful and lemony while still being juicy and delicious. The skin of the chicken was also perfectly cooked (even though I actually don't like eating the skin) and the sauce was super tasty on the potatoes I made (which were crash hot potatoes). Some rolls would have made this dinner even better, but I had some deflation issues I'd rather not talk about...

This recipe is from Cook's Illustrated and further proves that their recipes are spot on. I bought a cut up chicken instead of using a whole one and it worked out fine. I plan on making this with just breasts the next time I have people over for dinner.

Note: The recipe states you shouldn't use a flimsy throwaway roasting pan since it might overcook the chicken and make the sauce evaporate. A non-stick roasting pan is also a big no-no since the pan may react to all the acidity in the lemons.

Roast Lemon Chicken


½ cup salt
½ cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 (3 ½ to 4 pound) whole chicken, back bone removed, and butterflied
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice from 3 lemons
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


1.Dissolve ½ cup salt and ½ cup sugar in 2 quarts cold water in a large container. Submerge the chicken in the brine, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2.Adjust an oven rack to the middle lower position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse, and pat dry with paper towels. Combine zest and remaining 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Rub 2 tablespoons under the skin of the chicken (breasts, thighs, and legs). Season the chicken with salt and pepper and transfer to the roasting pan.

3.Whisk broth, 1 cup of water, lemon juice, and remaining zest in a 4 quart measuring cup, and then pour into the roasting pan. (The liquid should just reach the skin of the thighs. If not, add enough water so that id does.) Roast until the skin is golden brown and the thickest part of the breast registers 160-165 degrees and the thickest part of the thighs register 175 degrees on an instant read thermometer, 40-45 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes.

4.Pour the liquid from the pan, along with any accumulated chicken juices, into a saucepan (you should have about 1 ½ cups). Skim the fat, then cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Whisk the cornstarch with the remaining 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl until no lumps remain, then whisk into the saucepan. Simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5.Carve the chicken and serve with the sauce.

Sit back and enjoy.

-Cake in the background of the pic can be found here.

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