This is based on Glamour Magazine's Engagement Chicken recipe, so called because if one fixed this for your intended, you would be married. We've dressed it up a bit and added some touches that came with experience, so we call it Anniversary Chicken. It is one of the juiciest chickens I've ever tasted and has a wonderful crisp skin with a rich lemon flavor. If you can manage to save a small amount, it makes a wonderful asparagus, cheese and chicken tart which will be tomorrow's post.
Serve the chicken with roasted, parsley potatoes and Margaret's Italian Squash (see below)
Place a rack in the lower third position of your oven and preheat to 400°
1 whole chicken, washed and patted dry. (please do your taste buds a favor and buy either a free range chicken or an organic chicken. it's worth the extra money!)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 2 whole lemons
Kosher or coarse sea salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of sage
8 sprigs of thyme
1/4 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley
Coarsely chop the herbs. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Place 3/4 of the herbs into the cavity of the chicken and rub vigorously all around the inside of the chicken. Gently pull up the skin of the chicken and place the remainder of the herbs under the skin.
Prick two whole lemons three or four times in different locations and place them deep in the cavity. If one doesn't quite make it inside, it will be happy sticking out a bit.
Place the chicken BREAST-SIDE DOWN on a rack, place the rack in a pan deep enough to hold the juices. Pour the lemon juice over the chicken and season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Pat down to secure the seasoning. Put in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 350°. Cook for 15 minutes.
Remove the roasting pan and turn the chicken breast-side up. Return to oven and continue to cook for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Internal temperature should be 180°). Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the chicken and pour the juices over the sliced chicken. If desired, garnish with fresh herbs and a few lemon slices.
MARGARET'S ITALIAN SQUASH
Larry's mother used to make this when he was a teenager and was quite reluctant to eat any vegetable except corn, peas, and ... oddly enough, canned spinach (there is no accounting for youngsters tastes).
Easy to fix, delicious left over ... what more could one ask of a veggie?
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
4 medium zucchini sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
4 ounces of extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded.
Heat the olive oil in a small dutch oven or large, deep skillet. Add the onion and saute until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to two minutes to marry the flavors. Add the zucchini and the tomato sauce. Cover and cook gently for about ten minutes until tender. Stir in the cheese and let melt. Cook for a few additional minutes. This dish improves if you let it sit for a bit and then reheat it just before serving.