You know we've made this before, several times in fact, but why deprive yourself right? That's the reason I created a category under "JBug's Favorites". This Ina Garten recipe for lemon roasted chicken is beyond compare I swear but there is a secret to it. The results are all in the pan. In other words if you use a different pan, you'll get different results. Check this out.
Case Number 1 - way back in December 2010, I made this recipe for the first time. I used a shallow very large cast iron pan and the results are clear to see. Plump bird sitting on a bed of dark and crispified onions and very little pan juices to speak of. Cast iron cooks hotter so there's no chance for the juices to accumulate.
Case Number 2 - on November, 2011 we enjoyed this beauty again and if you see a pattern, you'll know it is because this was the time of year in Tucson that our Meyer lemon tree was overloaded with fruit. On this occasion, the bird was cooked in a large 2 inch high roasting pan and while the use of Meyer lemon's with their additional sugar content may account for the color of the onions and lemons, it is also due to the use of a larger pan with more surface area and consequently more evaporation of the juices.
Now, if you're looking for a plump juicy bird like the others, but want a saucier version with tender braised onions and sweet/sour roasted lemons then put it in a pan that fits the bird like the one I used last night.
A vintage graniteware "Savory" roaster given to us as a wedding gift back in 2000, you can imagine the number of birds this speckled beauty has cooked over the years. Obviously beautifully engineered, you'll notice it has a hollowed out bottom and a double walled construction. They just don't make 'em like that anymore so if you can find one, snap it up.
It is totally responsible for last night's perfectly cooked golden colored juicy, lemony bird sitting in a puddle of richly flavored juices with braised onions and sweet/sour roasted lemons. Not a charred anything in sight and perfect spooned onto crisp croutons and moist tender bird. Kinda' makes me want to make it all over again. Just sayin'.
Roasted Chicken on Croutons (from JBug's Kitchen Antics adapted from Ina Garten)
1 – 3 to 5 pound chicken
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
Coarse sea salt, pepper, thyme, oregano
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. 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 15 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes depending on size of the bird 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 to 6.
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