This chicken is a wonderful both hot out of the oven and at room temperature, leaving you flexible for how you want to serve your guests. It’s so simple, you can put it in the oven right before your guests arrive and have plenty of time to sip your Spicy Ginger-Mint Cocktails with them while it cooks. The rosemary imparts a nice buttery flavor, while the lemon adds the citrus accent that goes beautifully with the poultry.
2 chickens, about 3 pounds each
3 lemons, quartered
14 to 16 fresh rosemary sprigs, each about 3 inches long
¼ cup olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 425 derees.
2. Remove the necks and giblets from the chickens and reserve for another use. Rinse the chickens inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Salt the body cavities liberally and stiff 6 lemon quarters into each. Gentry separating the skin from the flesh with your fingers, insert 7 or 8 rosemary springs under the skin of each bird. Slide the springs in lengthwise and distribute them evenly all around the breast and thighs. Rub the skin with olive oil. Tie the drumsticks together at the ankles with kitchen twine. Salt the skin just before placing the birds in the roasting pan.
3. Place the chickens, breast side up, on a large rack in a large roasting-pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh but not touching a bone registers 170 degrees, or until the juices run clear from the thickest part of the thigh when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.
4. Remove the chickens from the oven. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes, then carve across the grain on the diagonal into thin slices and serve.
Recipes from Small Gatherings by Jessica Strand (Egg & Dart Press, May 2013)