Rabanastre Roast Chicken

Penelo and Vaan“It’s our home. It belongs to us all.”

—Penelo, FFXII

You’ll need about 4 small lemons or 2 large lemons for this recipe. You can buy ras el hanout at many stores, including Trader Joe’s, or make your own blend.

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 large or 2 small lemons
  • 1 garlic bulb, top sliced off to expose the cloves

For the spice paste:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large or 2 small lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ras el hanout
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Remove the giblets from the chicken and discard. Trim excess fat.

Place the chicken, breast-side down, on a rack in a roasting pan. Slice 1 large or 2 small lemons in half. Stuff the lemon halves and garlic bulb inside the chicken cavity.

Put the chicken in the oven and begin roasting, uncovered. Meanwhile, mix together the spice paste ingredients.

After the chicken has roasted for about 20 minutes, remove from the oven and spoon some of the spice paste on top. Turn the chicken breast-side up and baste again. Return to oven.

Check on the chicken after 20 minutes have passed, and baste with the remainder of the spice paste. The breast should be beginning to brown; if not, roast for a few more minutes.

Reduce heat to 325 degrees and roast for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 160 to 165 degrees.

Tilt the pan or the chicken to let the juices from the bird’s cavity flow into the pan (if they are red, cook another 5 minutes). Remove the chicken to a platter or carving board and let it rest for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove the garlic bulb from the chicken and place on the roasting rack. Return to the over and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or so, until the garlic is very tender and comes out from the cloves when squeezed.

While the garlic is baking, carve the chicken. Serve with the soft garlic and pan juices.

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