My friend Jeannie gave me the most beautiful cookbook for Christmas. It’s part of Williams-Sonoma’s “Authentic Recipes of the World” series. And this one focusses on the city of Florence.
Northern italians cook simply with the freshest and best ingredients at hand. And that’s what you should do here.
So splurge: buy a good chicken, not one of those thawed out ones for 99-cents a pound. And use the best lemons you can find. There aren’t too many more ingredients to this dish but here’s the list:
- Chicken (1 whole bird, about 3 1/2 pounds, preferably free-range, neck and giblets removed).
- Extra-virgin olive oil (2 tbsp.)
- Lemons (2 small)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper (I always use Kosher salt; and always, always, pepper from a grinder.)
What I did:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.
Rub outside of chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle skin and insides with salt and pepper.
Stuff the cavity with two whole lemons.
Put the chicken in a lightly oiled shallow roasting pan and cook for about 1 1/4 hours, until golden brown. Baste occasionally.
Transfer chicken to a carving board and remove the lemons. Then tent some aluminum foil over it.
When the lemons are cool to the touch, cut them in half and squeeze the juice into the roasting pan. Throw the lemons away.
Add 3 tbspoons of water to the pan and place over high heat.
Cook for about two minutes, until reduced by 1/3.
Carve the chicken and arrange on a platter. The pour the lemon pan juices over it.
Makes about 4 servings.
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