I hosted Easter dinner for the first time this year since my parents were staying in town – my father recently had surgery and it was below freezing at my sister’s house so an Easter egg hunt in Dallas for my niece and nephew was out of the question.
Ham was the traditional Easter dinner in my home growing up but my husband and I aren’t big fans of ham – cold cut, fresh, honey-baked or other. It might be the “pork thing” – I get a little weirded-out about it sometimes… one too many episodes of House, I suppose.
Mom tells a cute story: I invited my parents over for dinner after deciding it was time for them to meet Jason. Before they left their house to come over, Dad asked Mom, “She’s probably making something weird – should I eat first?” Weird. Hmmph.
So this year I had the task of making a menu that Dad would eat, that Jason would eat, and that wouldn’t disregard too much tradition for our dinner on Saturday. Thank the heavens for chicken!
I have never roasted a whole chicken before, roasting an entire chicken for two people seems a little wasteful but roasting a chicken for four – now that I’ll do! I used Giada de Laurentiis’ recipe for Garlic and Citrus Roasted Chicken (found in Giada’s Family Dinners); it looked pretty in the cookbook and I’m a sucker for a pretty picture.
The chicken is stuffed with oranges, lemons and an entire head of garlic and basted with lemon and orange juices and fresh oregano. The subtle citrus flavors were perfect for such an odd day – the gorgeous southeast Texas spring apparently took a late Spring Break and left us 40 degrees colder with weather reminiscent more of early January than April.
Recipe notes: I roasted the chicken in a 5 1/2-qt dutch oven and set it on top of 5 peeled carrots, 1/4 an onion, and a medium sweet potato cut into large chunks in the pan. My large stainless steel roasting pan would have dwarfed the bird and caused all my wonderful drippings to quickly evaporate. The pan sauce is terrific!
Garlic and Citrus Roasted Chicken
Roast chicken stuffed with garlic and citrus.
- 1 (5 to 6-pound) whole roasting chicken, neck and giblets discarded
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 orange, quartered
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 head garlic, halved crosswise, plus 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 (14-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
- Kitchen string or butcher twine
- Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
- Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the orange, lemon, and garlic halves. Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen string to help hold its shape. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Place a rack in a large roasting pan. Place the chicken, breast side up, on the rack in the pan. Roast the chicken for 1 hour, basting occasionally and adding some chicken broth to the pan, if necessary, to prevent the pan drippings from burning. Whisk the orange juice, lemon juice, oil, oregano, and chopped garlic in a medium bowl to blend. Brush some of the juice mixture over the chicken, after it has baked 1 hour. Continue roasting the chicken until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the innermost part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F, basting occasionally with the juice mixture and adding broth to the pan, about 20 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Tent with foil while making the sauce (do not clean the pan).
- Place the same roasting pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in any remaining broth and simmer until the sauce is reduced to 1 cup, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Strain into a 2-cup glass measuring cup and discard the solids. Spoon the fat from the top of the sauce. Serve the chicken with the pan sauce.
Yields: 4-6 servings
Estimated time: 1 hour 30 minutes