The other day, I was at grocery store, and I spotted lemons on sale for 69¢ apiece (these were quite large lemons, the main store I go to had smaller ones on sale at 40¢); and I figured that it’d be interesting to try putting it in the inside of a chicken for flavoring. So, I did just that.
I had heard some months ago about this really good chicken recipe that involved creating a dough to cover the chicken; a recipe from Jamie Oliver. I even managed to find the episode that had this particular recipe. On the surface it sounds like it can be a bit daunting, what with making a dough and everything, but the reality is that it comes together quickly. Here’s what you need –
2 lb (7-ish cups) of flour
2 cups (plus or minus) water
fresh thyme (I had to use dried as there was no fresh available)
garlic (about 6 cloves)
A tip that Jamie had on the episode was that you should put the lemon into boiling water for ten or so minutes, that allows it to be at temperature and reduce cooking time. When you have the water boiling, you can dip the sage into there and that will make it easy to bash around in a mortal-and-pestle (if you don’t have that, you can make your own suitable substitute from a metal bowl and something to crush other things with; I used a “battering-ram” style thing that is used for pushing tomatoes into a squeezo machine (which is similar to a grinder, but specifically for tomatoes)).
So, you bash the sage, thyme, and garlic, then add the olive oil along with salt (kosher or sea) and ground pepper. Mix that together and rub that on and inside the chicken and let it rest while you make the dough. Also, poke the lemon with a knife and insert it in the chicken. A tip – you should try to make sure that you get a smaller lemon so that it fits in the chicken on its own; otherwise you end up with a situation where some of the meat touches the lemon’s skin and becomes a touch too lemony.
With the flour and water, mix that together; you can add in some herbs if you wish, but the intention is to not eat the dough. After mixing, roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick (or 1 cm). Wrap the chicken with the dough – another tip, put the bottom of the chicken onto the dough and place your “seams” on the top, it *will* be easier to open after it’s baked. Trust me on that 😉
Also, Jamie did this idea of baking the chicken on some newspapers; you can do it, but since you’re baking at 425°, the paper *will* singe and you might be able to smell it (remembering that the flashpoint for paper is 451°F). So anyway, bake the chicken and dough (and optional newspaper) at 425°F (~220°C) for about 2 hours. Serve with your choice of vegetables; I opted for baked potatoes and broccoli.
Oh, and since I had slightly buggered-up the dough by putting the “seams” at the bottom of the chicken, that was a source of both minor frustration and levity as I was struggling with slicing the crust open. Using a vegetable knife (finely serrated edge) did the trick, along with flipping the thing over and having a go 🙂
And finally some pix for y’all –