Happy New Year everyone!
When I look back, it seems as though 2011 went by in a flash. I can think back to some key things that I did, saw, and participated in and I hope to do some of those things again in 2012. Here's to hoping for a safe and healthy 2012 filled with lots of adventure, lots of learning, and lots of time spent with those whom I love.
This recipe that I'm going to share with you tonight has been a long time coming. I've made it several times (great reviews from family members!) and have been wanting to share it with you for a really long time. The reason for it not appearing sooner? Well, I've been lazy. :o)
I was inspired by a Barefoot Contessa episode where Ina Garten made lemon-pepper chicken breasts. I took some of her ideas, changed them around a bit and came up with my own version using a whole chicken. This is super simple and is great on a weeknight (it only takes about 1.5 hours to bake if the chicken has been prepared beforehand) or the weekend. What I do is buy one or two whole chickens and clean them up, then marinate them with the ingredients in the recipe. I then wrap them up in freezer bags and put them in the freezer for a day when I don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen. Add the chicken to a roasting pan filled with vegetables or small potatoes and bake for 1.5-2 hours and you have a healthy meal on your hands.
1 whole skinless chicken, cleaned, washed and pat dried with paper towel
juice of 2 lemons
zest of 2 lemons
4 lemon halves (use the left over lemons)
2 tbsp + 1 pinch dried dill
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced lengthwise with seeds intact
2 tbsp freshly minced garlic
2 tbsp freshly minced ginger
2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp salt
Place the chicken on a flat surface and take the minced ginger and garlic and rub them all over and inside the chicken. Take care to get in between the joints. Take 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of dried dill and rub them on the inside of the chicken. Take 1 tbsp of salt and rub it over one side of the chicken and repeat on the other side. Pour juice of two lemons over both sides of the chicken. Take the remaining dill and spread it evenly over both sides of the chicken. Take the 4 lemon halves and jalapeno peppers and stuff them into the chicken's cavity. Sprinkle lemon zest over the top of the chicken (breast-side down). At this point you can stick the chicken and any juices into a freezer bag and put into the freezer. If you want to roast it the same day, let it marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place marinated or thawed chicken, and any juices in a roasting pan. If any lemons escaped, stick them back into chicken cavity. Cover roasting pan with lid and place in the lower half of oven. Check chicken after 30 minutes. If chicken juices and lemon juices have been released, begin to baste chicken with them. Repeat every 30-40 minutes until chicken is done (about 1.5 hours although I usually check by poking at the leg joints to see if everything is cooked). Remove chicken from oven and set aside for 5-10 minutes. Remove lid and baste chicken with juices again before cutting it into pieces. Repeat basting again before serving.