So I know that roasted chicken probably isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind when you’re thinking of an easy summer dinner. But right around mid-summer, when I’m getting (only slightly) weary of grilled meats and salads and appetizer dinners
, I started wanting something that more closely resembles a normal meal. The only caveat here is that I still don’t necessarily want to stand around a thousand degree kitchen preparing said meal. These are the conundrums of summer living in an old house.
But the other day it came to me. It’s not necessarily about not turning on your oven. It’s just about not being in the kitchen when the oven’s on. So it naturally follows that if you can come up with something that you can throw together, pop in the oven, and get out of dodge for an hour or so (my choice was the patio with a cool drink), you have a perfectly acceptable summer dinner option. And for those of you who have no idea what I’m rambling on about, because you have a blissfully air-conditioned, cool kitchen, then you’re probably already making roasted chicken at least once a week in the summer, right? No? Well then do I have a great recipe for you.
This isn’t your ordinary roasted chicken. It’s lemony and oniony and has big beautiful hunks of toasted bread to soak up all the fragrant, delicious juices. It’s rich and satisfying in the way that roasted chicken can be, but the lemons lend a citrusy tang that permeates the entire bird and makes the whole thing taste fresh and light and not at all “too much” for a summer meal. If you have leftovers (embarrassingly, we didn’t), I bet it would make an awesome chicken salad. If you can manage not to eat the whole thing, let me know how that turns out for you.
Lemon Roasted Chicken with Croutons
adapted, very little, from Barefoot in Paris
1 (4 to 5-pound) roasting chicken, cleaned
1 large yellow onion, sliced
Good olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 small lemons, quartered
5 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 cups (3/4-inch) bread cubes (1 baguette)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Toss the onion with a little olive oil in a small roasting pan. Place the chicken on top and sprinkle the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper. Place the lemons inside the chicken. Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels, brush it with the melted butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Cover with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. (The onions may burn, but the flavor is good.)
Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until very hot. Lower the heat to medium-low and saute the bread cubes, tossing frequently, until nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add more olive oil, as needed, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Place the croutons on a serving platter. Slice the chicken and place it, plus all the pan juices, over the croutons. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm.