There isn't a better aroma than a roasting chicken except maybe when it's sitting on a bed of onions and some Meyer lemons fresh from our tree. Of course stuffed with more lemon and sprinkled with herbs de provence which include savory, thyme, rosemary, fennel and lavender doesn't hurt either.
Neither do the crisp croutons on the bottom of the plate, nor the fact we were both famished because dinner was a little late. You see, the bird was a trifle larger than I thought and still a little frozen when I went to put it into the oven, but no matter. It gave us a chance to reconnect and talk about our day.
I know we've had roasted chicken a la' Ina before, but aren't the absolute best things worth repeating. In my opinion, there's not a better way to roast a cluck and if there is, I just haven't found it yet. If you haven't tried this recipe, jump on the bandwagon and get with the program. I guarantee you're gonna' love it.
It couldn't possibly be easier and the only way it could be better is if you double the onions and add a bunch of peeled garlic cloves to the mix, but then it wouldn't be Ina's would it?
Note - last night's bird was a 5 pounder and still a trifle frozen. It was in the oven a total of 2 hours and 10 minutes until it was a perfect 180 degrees when poked with a thermometer on the inner thigh. The result a perfectly cooked bird and VERY caramelized onions and lemons, but certainly no less delicious, because the onions were like a marmalade when spread on the croutons - heavenly, delicious morsels!
Roasted Chicken on Croutons (adapted from Ina Garten)
1 – 3 pound chicken
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
Coarse sea salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and/or Herbs de Provence
2 lemons, quartered
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups 3/4 inch bread cubes (I used Italian bread)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425. Place onions on bottom of roasting pan or cast iron skillet. Wash and dry chicken inside and outside. Season inside the bird with salt, pepper and sprinkle with thyme and oregano. Stuff with one lemon. Tuck pieces of butter under the skin over the breasts and slather rest of butter over bird. Season with more salt and pepper. Tie bird’s legs together with kitchen twine, tuck wings under and place on top of onions. Spread remaining lemon pieces around bird. Roast for 1 hour or until juices run clear when pierced between the leg and thigh. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to shimmering. Add bread cubes, lower heat to medium low and cook cubes, tossing often until golden brown and crisp. Sprinkle with coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper. Place croutons on plate and place sliced chicken on top, along with pan juices, onions and lemon pieces. Serves 4.
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