I have to admit. I was daunted by a chicken. I don’t normally cook whole chicken, as everyone in my family fights for the dark meat, and it’s typically just simpler and cheaper to buy thighs or drumsticks. Plus, after reading Matt’s post on the huge rates of campylobacter or salmonella especially in organic chickens, it seemed that any dealings with chicken were like betting the rent money on a hand of blackjack. I really don’t like chickens when they are running around and pecking things… now, dead seems to instill about the same amount of fear in me. Cook too little for fear of some Pythonesque Salmon Mousse incident… and cook too much and end up with chicken the texture of beef jerky.
But when I saw the honey-roasted spatchcocks in the Spring 07 Donna Hay, all glossy and moist, I was tempted. The idea of a honey roasted chicken just sounded too good to pass up, and I got concocting melding the marinade from that recipe with a basic roast chicken preparation.
Between a watchful eye and the super moist marinade of tupelo honey, olive oil, lemon and a few seasonings, I ended up with quite the succulent roasted bird, if not exactly my most photo worthy (my chicken skin had a bit nasty split across the top). The tupelo honey gave a great slightly sweet tang… present, but subtle. I’d recommend sticking with a buttery or citrusy flavored honey for this recipe rather than a floral scent.
Honey Roasted Chicken
(adapted from Donna Hay Honey Roasted Spatchcocks, Issue 29, p 84)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Marinate time: 4 to 8 hours
Cook time: ~1 hour 30 minutes
1 1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 t chili flakes
1 t sea salt
1/2 t cracked pepper
3-4 lb chicken
2-3 small lemons, sliced
Combine the honey, olive oil, garlic, chili flakes, sea salt and cracked pepper in a bowl and whisk together to combine. Set aside.
Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat dry. Place the chicken in a large plastic bag, and pour the honey marinade into the bag, and massage the chicken lightly to work the marinade all over the chicken through the bag. Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
Remove the chicken from the bag and place in a deep roasting pan, breasts up, and tie the legs together with string. Tuck the wings in close to the body. Pour the marinade over the top, then add the lemon slices to the pan, placing a few on the top of the bird.
Roast for about an hour and a half, basting every 10 minutes or so. Remove the lemons after about 20 minutes. If the skin starts to brown too much, cover with foil. The chicken is done when in reaches 165F, and the juices run clear. Remove from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes before carving and serving.