French herbs and classic technique make a timeless favorite flawless.
Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs typical in the eponymous southern French region, namely rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Lavender is often added to the mix when commercially sold in the U.S. There is nothing stopping you from making your own, and you may add savory or marjoram. This combination of herbs is the quintessential accompaniment to chicken, but it is equally complementary with goat cheese and vegetables.
Trussing a bird means that you tie up the legs and the wings before cooking it. This makes for a more uniform shape, which in turn creates predictable cooking times and moist, juicy flesh. Simply crossing the legs and tying them with twine is more than satisfactory. Never roast a chicken without trussing it. That's the ILOC way!
Equipment: cutting board, chef’s knife; measuring spoons; blender or food processor; airtight bag or container; small bowl; basting brush; sheet pan or roasting pan; twine; meat thermometer (optional)
Ingredients: 2, 3-4 lb. chickens, necks and wings reserved 3 tablespoons blended olive oil 4 tablespoons Herbes de Provence 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon honey 1 finely chopped jalepeno, seeds removed (optional) Juice of 2 lemons, rinds reserved and cut into 4 pieces 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons kosher salt 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. In the meantime, mix the above ingredients—except for the chickens!—in a blender or food processor until well combined.
2. Place the birds in a large container or bag and cover with the marinade, making sure the marinade covers every inch of the bird, including the cavity. Refrigerate for one hour up to eight hours or overnight, but no longer.
“If you have the time to marinate the bird in the morning or overnight, do it. It will become more flavorful and succulent. The combination of citrus and herbs, honey and spice, is unbeatable. ”
3. Remove the birds from the marinade and place the remaining marinade in a bowl to set side. Season the interiors of the chickens with additional salt and pepper and place the reserved lemon rinds in the cavities. Truss the chickens so that the breasts are plump and the legs are pressed against the body of the chicken.
4. Set the neck and wing pieces in a shallow roasting or sheet pan and place the chickens on top—or on top of a rack placed on the pan. Brush the entire surface of the chicken with the herb marinade, excluding the back, being sure to brush everywhere, even in tight places like where the legs meet the breast.
5. Place the birds in the oven with the legs facing the back and roast for 30 minutes.
Do not open the oven door!
“It is imperative to keep the oven heat at a consistent temperature. Good technique—the ILOC way— leads to great results.”
6. After 30 minutes of uninterrupted roasting, reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Using a brush, baste the chicken with the pan juices and any remaining marinade, if any. Continue roasting the chickens for 45 minutes to one hour or until the upper part of the leg reaches 150°F when tested with a meat thermometer.
7. Let the chicken rest a few minutes before carving. Serve with a simple green salad, or any side dish you fancy.
Makes 8 servings.
“Use this marinade for leg or rack of lamb, too. Divine!”