Company’s Coming!

Part of my professional work requires me to read lifestyle magazines such as O, Living and Dwell. This is the best part of my work week. Earlier this year in Better Homes & Gardens’ “make-ahead meals” I found this gem of a recipe for a lemon glazed chicken.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the roasted chicken. The first time I cooked one, just after college, I was so disgusted by how much it looked like a real, live chicken I became a vegetarian for a year and my omnivore boyfriend almost broke up with me. Fortunately, he stuck it out and we’ve been married now almost 15 years. Again, when I was pregnant with the Spitfire, I became completely turned off by chicken and didn’t eat it until after her birthday. And by that time, rotisserie chickens for $5 were so prevalent I had no need to roast a whole chicken.

But, this recipe inspired me to get back on the bird. It looked great for company so I went for it. I recommend this chicken for a small dinner—4 adults – or you should make a second one. Or, you can get a bigger bird. The recipe called for a 5# chicken but I was only making it for my family plus a single friend, so I went with the 3.5-pounder.  I paired it with fruity quinoa (1C Quinoa and 1/3C blanched sliced almonds, toasted on the stove. Add to sauce pan with 1C boiling water, 1/2C orange juice and 1/2C dried cherries or cranberries, bring to a boil, let simmer 20 minutes) and steamed green bean. Roasted asparagus would be great with it, but I only have one oven.

You prep almost all of it 8-12 hours before you roast the chicken, so do the prep on a weekend morning for dinner or the night before for a lunch.

Roast Chicken with Lemon Glaze

Great for: lunch with girlfriends, dinner with another couple, special family dinner nights

Prep: 30 minutes

Marinate: 8 hours

Roast: 60-90 minutes, depending on size of bird

Stand: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 whole roasting chicken

4-6 small lemons

1/4C olive oil

2T snipped fresh parsley

4 garlic cloves, minced (I used bottled)

1t cayenne pepper, divided

1/2C honey

1-3 small lemons, halved or quarterd (optional—I omitted them)

DIRECTIONS

1. Remove giblets from chicken, if present. Place chicken in plastic bag set in shallow dish (I used a Ziploc storage bag and a pie plate). Slice 2 of the lemons; add to bag. Finely shred (I zested) 2 teaspoons peel from remaining lemons; set aside. Squeeze lemons to yield 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons juice for glaze (I did not get enough juice and supplemented with bottled juice).

2. For marinade, in bowl combine the 1/2 cup lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Pour marinade over chicken; turn to coat. Seal bag. Refrigerate 8 to 12 hours; turn occasionally.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Let chicken stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Drain chicken and set aside lemon slices; discard marinade. Pull neck skin to back and fasten with a skewer. Tie drumsticks to tail. Twist wing tips under back.

4. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Cover with lemon slices. Arrange lemon halves or quarters on rack around chicken. Roast on lowest rack, uncovered, for 1 hour.

5. Meanwhile, in small saucepan combine honey, the shredded lemon peel, the 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

6. Cut string between drumsticks and reposition any lemon slices that have slid off of chicken. Continue roasting 30 to 60 minutes more, or until drumsticks move easily in their sockets and chicken is no longer pink (180 degrees F), occasionally brushing with some of the honey mixture during the last 20 minutes of roasting. If lemons begin to darken, tent loosely with foil. Remove chicken from oven. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing. Pass remaining honey glaze. Makes 4-8 servings, depending on size of bird and appetite of diners.

You can see the beautiful result below. It was delicious.

Of course, you can also see that it’s been almost a decade since I roasted a chicken—I roasted it breasts down. I’ll say this: they were incredibly moist.

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