Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Cardiologist's Diet: If it tastes good, spit it out. ~ Author Unknown

A couple of weeks ago, I was looking through some of my favorite blogs and I inadvertently came across When I scrolled down the page, I stopped at this recipe for Roast Lemon Chicken with Croutons.

Now, my husband, Tom, is a bread lover: sandwiches, garlic bread, crackers, pita, baguette, croissants, biscuits, bagels and even tortillas. Tom has never met a piece of bread that he didn't like. So, I thought, croutons? That's kind of an interesting concept.

I am here to tell you that this dish is more than an "interesting concept." It is amazing! The lemons brighten the flavor of the chicken and the drippings. Just the right amount of herbs season the meat and the skin. I love a flavorful roast chicken. Remember the Balsamic Roasted Chicken that Reggie Southerland made on the Next Food Network Star? That was amazing, too. But, this dish, using the croutons instead of potatoes, rice, polenta or grits... well, it just put the flavor and texture over the top.

I did make some minor changes to the dish. Primarily, I added the rosemary springs and made the croutons in the oven instead of frying them, but I did that mostly because I'm lazy. You will see my notes in italics.

Roast Lemon Chicken with Croutons
Adapted by Chef Tom @ Bearly Edible from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris

1 - 3 to 4 pound roasting chicken
1 large onion, sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon rosemary (rather than leaves, I used ground)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 lemons, quartered
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 cup 3/4 inch bread cubes (1 baguette French bread)
3 sprigs of rosemary (optional ~ not included in original recipe)

In the morning of the dinner, or the night before, remove the giblets from the chicken and wash out. Trim the fat from the chicken carcass. Pat the chicken dry. Mis together the salt, pepper, rosemary and oregano in a small bowl. Coat the skin and the interior cavity with the spices (I found doing the inside first, then the skin the easiest. Seal in a Ziploc bag and allow to sit in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.

Preheat the oven to 425º. Remove the chicken from the bag and stuff the cavity with quartered lemons and sprigs of rosemary. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings under the carcass. Place the onions in a roaster with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Set the chicken on the onions. Drizzle the melted butter over the chicken. Roast for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours until the juices run clear and the thickest part of the chicken reads 165º. Remove from the oven and cover with foil while you prepare the croutons.

Cut the baguette into 3/4 inch cubes. Preheat a large sauté pan with 2 tablespoon olive oil until very hot. Add bread cubes. Turn heat to medium and continue cooking bread cubes and tossing as they toast. It should take about 10 minutes to reach a toasted crouton state. Add olive oil as needed to keep from sticking. Finish by coating with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Place the toasted croutons on a serving platter. Okay, I did this part differently. I brushed a large baking sheet with olive oil and put the bread cubes on the sheet in a single layer. I brushed the croutons with olive oil. When I removed the chicken from the oven, I turned the oven down to 400º and put the bread cubes in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until just golden brown. When I removed them from the oven, I sprinkled them with the salt and pepper and placed them on a large serving platter.

Remove the chicken from the roasting pan and remove the lemon quarters and rosemary from the cavity. Cut the chicken into serving pieces and arrange over the croutons. Strain the juices and remove as much fat as possible. Heat, if necessary and pour over chicken and croutons. Serve. We also served the beautiful caramelized onions with the chicken and croutons. They were sweet, savory and delicious!


Nicole said...

Ooohh this looks so good. Another one I must try!

Terri said...

Nicole: This WAS delicious. Using the croutons instead of potatoes, rice or pasta was such an awesome idea! I hope you try it.

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