Small Chicken – 2 Kg
1/2 Lemon cut in quarters
3 Sprigs of fresh Rosemary
2 Large Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Salt, Pepper & Sprinkling of Hot Paprika
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
I use a cast iron pan, with a lid on to start the cooking. Preheat your oven at 180 Celsius. In the meantime, clean the chicken and in the cavity, squeeze the lemon and insert it, along with the garlic and Rosemary sprigs.
Salt and pepper the cavity.
Rub the olive oil all over the chicken and massage it well, so all surfaces are covered. Salt, pepper and a dash of hot paprika.
Place in the cast iron or roasting pan and put the lid on, or cover the beast with aluminum foil. Bake for 35-40 minutes, making sure to baste the chicken and pour the juice over every 20 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue to cook the chicken for another 40 minutes, for a total of 1 hour and 20 minutes, making sure to baste the chicken every 20 minutes or so.
Before the final cooking, you can put the grill on to ensure the skin darkens and become crisp. I leave it for 10 minutes on high grill and turn the chicken over for another 10 minutes.
To make sure the chicken is cooked properly, insert a knife in the leg and if the juice comes out clear, the meat should be ready.
Otherwise, you can use a thermometer which should indicate 75 Degrees Celsius or 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put the lid back on and let it rest on the counter. THIS, is the most important tip for success. The meat will have time to rest and the juices to come back up in the meat. This step is what makes the chicken so tender.
While you let the meat rest, prepare and plate your vegetables.
The combination of lemon, rosemary and garlic, make this dish such a wonderful, complex, yet comforting meal.
I usually buy a larger chicken or make two, so we can have leftovers for the following day, to make a spicy Thai curry, a chicken potpie or chicken fried rice.