Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lemon Pepper Chicken

I made this for Sunday lunch and it was a huge hit with the family.

1 whole chicken
1 lemon
3/4 stick softened butter
1/2 large onion
ground rosemary
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse the chicken under running water and pat dry with paper towels
  3. For faster cooking, cut chicken in half. (Cut out the back bone and then down the middle of the breasts.
  4. Using your hand, form a pocket under the skin of the bird. Try to leave the edges on one side closed. Make sure you open up some areas on the leg and thigh.
  5. Wash your hands.
  6. Slice lemon into 8 pieces and set aside. Slice onion.
  7. Place the softened butter in a bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary powder, 2 pinches of cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a good amount of twists on the pepper mill. Mix the spices into the butter. Taste it. I know it sounds gross, but this will tell you if you have a good balance of spices!
  8. Put a cookie rack on a sheet pan. (This will allow the fat to drain off the chicken as it cooks.)Place onions and one slice of lemon on the cookie rack where the halved chicken pieces will lay.
  9. Salt and pepper the bottom of each chicken half and then place it on the onion/lemon bed.
  10. Place 3 slices of lemon into each half of the chicken. Be sure to get one slice over part of the leg and one towards the thigh. The other should lay on the breast.
  11. Take the butter mixture and use 2/3 to stuff inside the chicken halves. Be sure to get some on the breast, leg and thigh.
  12. Use the rest of the butter mixture to coat the skin of the chicken. Add a little extra salt and pepper to the top of the chicken.
  13. Place in the oven to bake until done (30-40 minutes). Test with oven thermometer before taking it out.
Not only does this taste great, it also smells heavenly while it's in the oven! Be careful not to overcook the chicken. I always have a tough time with that because it's hard to tell when the bone areas are fully cooked. After it's done, let it rest for 10 minutes. This allows the juices to flow back into the bird. I served this with mashed potatoes and peaches, but it would have also gone great withrice or a salad.

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