By MARI and LILA CHILES
Mommy’s specialty is friend chicken—it’s always perfectly crunchy on the outside and nice and juicy on the inside. But we can’t eat it all the time because it’s not really all that good for you. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy good chicken, though. Mommy lets us help her make a different kind of chicken that’s roasted in the oven with lemon and rosemary, and next to her fried chicken, it’s the best chicken we’ve ever had. Plus, it’s healthier, which means we can eat it more often.
At first we thought the lemon was going to be a little weird, but it’s actually really tasty, and it makes a nice salty, tarty juice in the pan that we like to spoon onto our chicken when it’s time to eat it. And Lila really likes the taste of the fresh rosemary, which, during the summer, we pull right from our herb container garden out on our deck. (Now that it’s winter, we buy fresh rosemary from the store, but it still tastes really good!) Mommy usually serves this chicken with roasted red potatoes that she flavors with rock salt, a little olive oil, and more fresh rosemary, and a nice garden salad with extra cucumbers (because Lila really likes cucumbers!). Trust us: You’re going to love this recipe!
ROAST LEMON AND ROSEMARY CHICKEN
What you’ll need:
3 chicken halves
3 lemons, halved
6 rosemary sprigs
6 garlic cloves, peeled
a roasting pan
How to make it:
1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
2. Generously season the chicken halves with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
3. Place the chicken halves in a roasting pan side by side.
4. Cut up three lemons into halves, and place them around the chicken. (You do not have to squeeze them; the juices will cook out of the lemons and flavor the chicken.)
5. Add fresh, whole, peeled garlic cloves.
6. Put fresh rosemary sprigs on top of the chicken halves.
7. Cover with foil, and put the pan into the preheated oven.
8. Let it cook for about 45 minutes; baste the chicken with the juices from the pan every once in a while to keep it from drying out.
9. After 45 minutes, take off the foil and let the chicken halves brown, for about 15 to 20 minutes. If you get reasonably small halves, not those BIG ole pieces that look like they got shot with steroids, it should take about an hour or so for the chicken to be cooked through. If you can only find thick halves, or you decide to cook the chicken whole instead of in halves, you should let it cook under the foil an extra 15 minutes or so before you take it off.
Serves four generously.
From the MyBrownBaby series, "Home Made Love: From The Chiles Girls' Kitchen To Yours," the cookbook in which Mari and Lila share special memories behind the beloved dishes they create in our house.