Ahhhh, Sunday morning. The Tribune fresh from the driveway, the smell of maple roasted bacon spitting nicely in the oven, and pancakes puffing up on the grill. Now is as good a time as any to talk about this totally simple but really yummy chicken from Nigella Lawson – who is right up there with Ina Garten in my (cook) book. In the oven or on the grill, it consistently turns out a flavorful, moist chicken – even if you end up with some scorched bits – tho’ I quite like the odd scorched bit.
In truth, I probably hadn’t made chicken this way since last summer – I’ve been all about the buttermilk roasted bird lately – and I had forgotten how mind-numbingly GOOD this sucker is. All you need is some chicken – last night I used bone-in breasts, some olive oil, lemon, onion, coarse salt and herbs. Squish it all around in a plastic bag and marinate overnight, or pop into the freezer as is; when you’re ready to cook it, the thawing time will do for the marinade. I usually make this recipe as is, but didn’t have fresh rosemary laying around, so added some celery tops and gave the whole project a good sprinkling of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (trust me – you NEED this seasoning). BEST. CHICKEN. EVER. Try it and see if you don’t agree.
Put the chicken into a large freezer bag.
Pull the needles off the rosemary and drop in (here’s where I just used the celery tops).Cut the lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the bag, and toss the shells in as well
Cut the onion into eights – you don’t have to peel it – and add to the mix
Add a sprinkling of sea salt and some of the 21 Seasoning Salute
Pour in the olive oil, close the bag and squeeze the mixture all around to blend
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 425º and bring the chicken up to room temperature.
Place into a foil lined pan, add the onion, lemon slices and a sprig of rosemary
Bake for about 45 minutes, place the chicken on a platter with lemon, add the baked lemon slices (really tasty!), onion, and drizzle with the pan juices. Sprinkle with sea salt as desired.
Serve and enjoy!
Nigella says that, after the main cooking is done – you can lower the oven to 300º and leave it in until you want to serve it – the chicken doesn’t come out dry, but the taste is deeper and more complex.
I should note that this also grills beautifully; charred on the outside so that people who don’t know any better think you’re going to serve them a piece of chicken dust – but just wait until they bite into it!