I know what you’re thinking – just how many ways can that woman cook things with lemon, garlic and rosemary? Well, here is a version that takes its technique from Susan Spicer and modifies a recipe from her cookbook, Crescent City Cooking, that I think you’ll want to try.
As usual when I cook a whole chicken, I cut out the backbone to reserve for stock making and to improve roasting in the oven.
Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary
1 4lb whole chicken
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 lemons, zested and juiced
6 to 8 stalks of rosemary – leaves removed and stalks retained
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 loaf of rustic bread, chopped into large pieces and lightly toasted
Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Juice one half of one of the lemons after zesting and pour over the chicken. Let sit for 10 minutes. Set aside the rest of the lemon juice.
Take zest and garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped rosemary leaves and mash together to form a paste. Add in 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to combine. Make openings in the skin and push the mixture under the skin. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a large roasting pan, put the lemon halves and the rosemary stalks in the bottom. Coat the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and nestle it breast side up on top of the lemons and rosemary. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper and 1 teaspoon of finely diced rosemary over the bird.
Place in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes. The chicken should start to brown so turn it over and add the diced onion to the pan. Pour the remaining lemon juice over the chicken. Drop the heat to 400 degrees F and cook for 30 minutes. Turn chicken over and cook for a final 20 minutes to finish cooking and recrisp the skin. Cover lightly with aluminum foil if the chicken is getting too brown.
Remove chicken to a cutting board and rest for at least 15 minutes. Discard the rosemary stalks and press out any remaining juice in the lemon halves before discarding them as well. Take the pan juices and pour them into a cast iron skillet with final 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Be sure to scoop out the onions and any rosemary leaves left in the pan as well as scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook the juices over medium heat with the chopped celery. Once it comes to a simmer, add in the toasted bread and coat it well with the liquid. Add in 1 cup of chicken stock and cook over medium low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Slice the chicken into pieces and serve with the dressing.