Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Running Food: Roasted Chicken with Dill and Lemon

Yesterday I made a roasted chicken with lemon and dill that was absolutely awesome, if I do say so myself. I didn't really use an exact recipe, but the inspiration was from a recipe in Norwegian chef Andreas Viestad's "Kitchen of Light" cookbook that accompanied PBS's New Scandinavian Cooking series (an awesome show, especially for anyone who would appreciate Scandinavian cuisine).

There are conflicting opinions about dill. Emeril Lagasse of the Food Network thinks fresh dill can be overpowering, and that a little bit goes a long way. However, Viestad says fresh dill is delicate and fragile, and that you can feel free to use a whole bunch of it. It is all personal preference, really, and perhaps it is the Norwegian in me, but I agree more with Viestad. I like a lot of dill, so I use a lot. If you side with Emeril, use less. If you hate dill altogether, you could easily substitute other herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme…or all three in combination!).

All I did was take a 3 1/2 lb whole chicken, and stuffed the cavity with a head of garlic (cut in half), several lemon wedges, a bundle of fresh dill, and then truss the bird. Then I took about a 1/2 a stick of butter and mixed in a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh dill, about a tablespoon of lemon zest, some salt, and fresh black pepper. I rubbed the chicken with the butter mixture. Using my fingers, I took some of the butter mixture and went under the skin of the breast (very gently so as not to tear the skin) to help add flavor and moisture. I drizzled some fresh lemon juice over the chicken just before putting in the oven.

Then, I roasted it in a 350 degree oven for 90 minutes, basting every 30 minutes (feel free to use a meat thermometer if you want confirmation it is cooked through). You should end up with a golden, brown, moist, and delicious bird. Let it rest at least 15 minutes before carving. Enjoy!

(By the way, the leftovers stay quite juicy and make for excellent sandwiches!)
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