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The weather in New York lately has been nothing if not obnoxious. Gorgeously springy and warm one day, it turns rainy and cold the next. One day I’ll be traipsing around town in a skirt and sandals, the next I’m wrapping a scarf around my neck and making sure I have plenty of layers.
Hopefully, this is the last week of such nonsense. You can feel the air- no, smell it- as it turns slowly into Spring, and something about that feeling makes me want to roast a chicken. My last goodbye to cool weather cooking, if you will.
If you ask me, there is no easier weeknight dinner than roasted chicken. Rinse the bird, salt it, slice some onions and carrots and maybe some lemons, throw everything in a pot with a bit of olive oil and roast at 375 for around an hour and ta-daa! –– dinner. (There is a great, ranty post by Michael Ruhlman on the very topic of roast chicken dinner here)
Maybe it’s the rain we’ve had lately, or maybe it’s the fact that I know there will be precious few chilly days in the future and pretty soon we’ll be on the nonstop express to a meltingly hot summer. Whatever it is, this delicious chicken, cooked with honey and lemon and garlic in my new favorite pot a friend picked up on a trip to Poland, just feels like a big fat “smell ya” to April, and arms thrown open to May.
Honey Roast Chicken Recipe
- One fryer chicken, rinsed well
For the brine
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup table salt
- 2 cups water
- For the gremolata (this is my version of the Italian condiment)
- 1/4 cup minced parsley
- one orange
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the glaze
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Optional, for roasting in the pan
- one large Vidalia or sweet onion, sliced
- handful carrots
- baby potatoes, with the skin on
- To start the brine, combine in a large bowl the buttermilk, salt and vinegar. Whisk to dissolve as much of the salt as you can. Add the chicken to the bowl- or, if it’s too large, pour the contents of the brine in a plastic bag and add the chicken. Add water to cover (about 2 cups- maybe more, maybe less) and if using a bag, give it a good shake before placing it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
- While the bird is brining, mince the parsley and garlic and zest one orange. Combine these with one or two tablespoons of olive oil and mix well in a small bowl.
- When the bird is out of the fridge, rinse it well and pat it dry with towels. If you’re using them, add the oinions, carrots and potatoes to the bottom of the pot and place the chicken on top. Preheat the oven to 400*F. Using your fingers, gently slide underneath the skin of the bird to loosen it away from the meat. Pack the gremolata mixture underneath the skin, getting into as many places as you can.
- Salt the bird well.
- Using the same small bowl that once held the gremolata, add to it the honey and another two tablespoons of olive oil. Cut the zested orange in half and squeeze the juice. Mix all this together with a fork, then rub it onto the skin of the chicken, mixing it with the salt.
- Place the pot in the center of the oven and roast for at least one hour, or until a thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat (and not up against any bones) reads 165*F. Let rest for at least ten minutes before serving.