Chicken with two lemons and swiss chard

I mean, the chicken even looks moist in this photo...num num.

Tonight's recipe produced the moistest chicken ever....EVERRRR!!!! It's surprising how four simple ingredients can make a chicken divine. All you need for this recipe is the chicken (free-range), salt, pepper and lemons.

This chicken officially beats my previous favorite. I thought that chicken was moist, but it doesn't even compare!! Well, it does come in a close second, but I enjoyed the flavor of this chicken a little better...therefore it's the weiner!! Lobster even said it was the moistest chicken he'd ever had :)

I was trying to compare the two recipes and according to my cooking expertise (LOL) I believe stuffing the chicken with the lemons produces an insanely moist chicken. Also this recipe starts the chicken at a lower temperature breast side down, then you flip the bird, cook a little more then crank up the heat at the very end. Very similar to our turkey recipe for Thanksgiving which was super moist as well. Come to think of it, this chicken took two hours to make, so allow some time for that while you prepare the rest of your meal.

This meal is simple to prepare and elegant enough to serve to company. I served it with swiss chard and roasted fennel, so it was a double whammy of vegetables. The swiss chard was a new vegetable we tried and apparently it's very rich in vitamins and minerals...apparently I've suddenly become a nutritionist. Anyway, hope you give the meal a try :)

Marcella Hazan’s Roast Chicken with Two Lemons
Servings vary.
Adapted from Essentials of Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

3- to 4-pound chicken
Salt (3/4 teaspoon of sea salt per pound of chicken)
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
2 rather small lemons (small enough to fit inside the cavity of the chicken)

1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash lemons and set aside to dry.

2) Rinse entire chicken in cold water, taking care to remove giblets first. Cut off all the strange hanging fat. Set chicken on a tilted plate and let air dry for 10 minutes. Dry thoroughly but gently with paper towels. (I salted the chicken for 24 hours, I usually like to do it two days ahead though)

3) Season the bird with lots of salt and pepper, both inside and out.

4) Using light pressure, roll the lemons across a board with your hands. (This will soften them up.) Prick each of them about 20 times with a toothpick. Stuff lemons in the chicken's larger cavity.

5) Using toothpicks or trussing string, close the cavity opening as best you can. (Don't make it airtight, or the chicken could pop.) Tie the chicken's legs together at the ends, but not tightly. They should remain in their natural place. (The skin might puff up if it cooks, but I've never seen this. - Kris)

6) Place chicken breast-side down into a large (ungreased) roasting pan. Roast in the upper third of the oven for about 30 minutes. Turn chicken over, so now the breast side is up.

7) Roast chicken for another 30 minutes. Jack oven heat up to 400°F and roast for 20 minutes longer. According to Marcella, "figure about 20 or 25 Calculate between 20 and 25 minutes total cooking time for each pound" after this. (If you have a meat thermometer, now's the time to use it.)

8) Remove bird from oven and let sit 5 or 10 minutes for juices to redistribute. Carve and serve, making sure you drizzle the juice at the bottom of the pan over the chicken. It will knock your socks off.

Marcella ahead-of-time note: "If you want to eat it while it is warm, plan to have it the moment it comes out of the oven. If there are leftovers, they will be very tasty cold, kept moist with some of the cooking juices and eaten not straight out of the refrigerator, but at room temperature."

Swiss chard - 2 servings
Adapted from Simply Recipes

1 large bunch of fresh Swiss chard
1 small clove garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp water
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper

1 Rinse Swiss chard leaves thoroughly. Remove leaves along both sides of the middle stalk. Discard the stalk. Roughly chop the leaves into inch-wide strips.

2 Heat a saucepan on a medium heat setting, add olive oil, a few small slices of garlic and the crushed red pepper. Sauté for about a minute. Add the chopped Swiss chard leaves. Cover. Check after about 5 minutes. If it looks dry, add a couple tablespoons of water. Flip the leaves over in the pan, so that what was on the bottom, is now on the top. Cover again. Check for doneness after another few minutes (remove a piece and taste it). Add salt to taste. Remove the swiss chard to a serving dish