A wet rub of crushed lemon sections, herbs, and black pepper is the key to this dramatic spin on baked chicken. Serve the golden-brown bird with rice or another side of your choice.
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 (5-pound) roasting chicken
How to Make It
Peel and section lemons, reserving the peels. Combine lemon sections, oregano, and next 5 ingredients (oregano through garlic) in a bowl, and mash with a fork.
Immerse the top and bottom of a 2-quart clay cooking pot in water for 10 minutes. Empty pot, and drain well.
Remove and discard the giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse chicken with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub lemon mixture under and over the loosened skin. Tie ends of legs together with cord. Place lemon peel in body cavity. Place chicken, breast side up, in bottom of clay pot, and cover with top of clay pot.
Place clay pot in cold oven, and set to 450°. Bake chicken for 50 minutes, and remove top. (The chicken is done when a meat thermometer registers 180°.)
Preheat the broiler. (Do not move the oven rack.)
Return chicken in pot to oven, and broil, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Carefully remove clay pot from oven. Remove chicken from clay pot. Cover chicken loosely with foil; let stand for 10 minutes. Discard skin.
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