Roast Lemon Chicken

This is a good dish to make on a Sunday afternoon. Football is on and laundry is usually going, so Sky and I are around to baste the chicken every 15 minutes. It gets tedious towards the end, but it's absolutely worth it. The skin gets crispy and lemon-y, and the chicken stays moist. The chicken is great hot or cold, so I use it after the first night in salads, sandwiches, or repurposed as a quick baked chicken (put cooked cutlets in a baking pan with just enough tomato sauce to cover them, coat with shredded mozzarella and seasoning, and cook under the broiler until the cheese is golden and bubbling). This recipe is from The Essential New York Times cookbook (2010 edition).

Total time to cook: 2 hours

1 whole chicken, 3-5 lbs
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 lemons
6 cloves garlic
2 tbsp margarine (or unsalted butter, if that's your thing)
2 tbsp olive oil

- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. I lightly coated the pan with nonstick spray just to be safe and with cleanup in mind, but it's not necessary. Put the chicken in a large roasting pan and season it (including inside the cavity) with salt and pepper.
- Peel the skin from one of the lemons and rub it all over the outside of the bird. Quarter that same lemon, squeeze the juices over the chicken, and arrange the pieces and the garlic cloves evenly inside the chicken.
- In a small pan, melt the margarine with the olive oil. Pour one-third of that mixture inside the chicken.
- Tie the legs together with string, and then pour the rest of the margarine and olive oil mixture over the chicken.
- Roast the chicken for about an hour and a half. Every fifteen minutes, take the chicken out and spoon the juices over the outside of the bird. Make sure all the nooks and crannies get coated.
- At the start of the final half hour, squeeze juice from the second lemon over the chicken.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and move it to a cutting board. Let it sit for about fifteen minutes before carving.
- To make a gravy, pour the remaining pan juices into a small pot and add a half of a cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and then let it reduce until it starts to thicken a little.
- Serve everything immediately (we made a simple arugula salad).

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