Sometimes (often?) simple things are best. This is such a simple recipe and results in such tender, moist, juicy chicken it's really hard to believe. We want to do more to things: tweak this, add a bit of that…. It can be hard to resist. This recipe calls for two things: chicken and lemons. If you make it (and you should) please resist the urge to add herbs, salt, butter, oil or anythings else to it. Just say NON! You'll miss the subtle flavor.
I don't know where I got the recipe. I do remember that it was a food magazine and it was called 'Italian Roast Chicken'. That's a much nicer name than the one my family dubbed it. I'll give credit for the name to my DS. He makes this often to show off his culinary skills to friends and girlfriends. He calls it 'Lemon Butt Chicken'. Descriptive, yes. Accurate, yes. Did the name stick? Absolutely!
Roast Chicken with Lemon
Time 5 minutes prep, cooking 80 minutes
1 whole roasting chicken, cleaned
2 small lemons, preferably thin-skinned and juicy
Clean the chicken. Roll the lemons on the counter with your hand a few times, pressing lightly. With a toothpick prick the lemons all over, 20 – 25 times. Put the lemons inside the chicken. With kitchen string (or whatever) tie the legs together. Twist the wing tips around so they are tucked under the back (if you don't do these last two it won't affect the recipe – only the appearance.) Do not salt, butter, oil or anything else. Put breast side DOWN in a roasting pan and roast at 350F for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the oven to 400F and roast for 20 – 25 more minutes. Skin should be golden brown and puffy. Remove, carve and serve with pan juices.
For all of you living in the U.S. cleaning the chicken normally means rinsing. For the rest of us it means pulling off the few remaining feathers…. and, sometimes, cutting off the head and feet. I do draw the line at butchering, however.
Something else I have not seen in the U.S. is pre-packaged rare beef. We still eat rare hamburgers and Steak Tartare. The French government can be very intrusive into a lot of areas but they leave food preparation alone.
When I saw this at the shop, I couldn't resist! But, what to do with it?
I still had a couple of tortillas in the fridge from earlier in the week. Quesadillas!
I put some sauteed leeks on the beef; added the last bit of mimolette cheese and some shredded Gruyere on top, smashed down the other tortilla and drizzled truffle oil over the top. Baked it for 10 minutes at 400F (200C) and – Voila!
Garnished with a few olives and the rest of the beef it was a perfect, simple first course for two.
Sometimes easy really is best!