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Roasted Lemon Chicken

Lemon chicken has always been a favorite with my family, but too often the lemon flavors get lost or overwhelmed in the final dish.  Using zest to boost flavor intensity and a lemon infused sauce produces a wonderful, intensely flavored result.  Thanks to Cook's Country for this great dish.

1 whole chicken ~4 pounds, butterflied
3 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 tablespoons lemon pepper
~1/3 cup lemon juice (preferably from fresh lemons)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon corn starch
3 tablespoon unsalted butter

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475°.

Once butterflied pat the chicken dry with paper towels.  Mix the zest, sugar, oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.  Lift the skin of the bird with your fingers taking care not to rip it and rub about 2/3 of the zest mixture between the skin and flesh.  Work the mixture around until it is spread fairly evenly.  Season the outside of the bird with the lemon pepper (to taste) and transfer to a roasting pan.

Whisk together broth, 1 cup water, lemon juice and remaining zest mixture and add to the roasting pan.  The liquid should just reach the skin of the thighs.  If not add a little water as needed.  Roast until the skin is golden brown and the breast meat registers ~160° on an instant read thermometer.  Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest 15-20 minutes.

Pour the sauce and accumulated juice from the roasting pan into a saucepan and reduce over medium-high heat until you have ~1 cup left. Mix the cornstarch and remaining water until no lumps remain, then whisk into the sauce.  Simmer gently until sauce has thickened (1-2 minutes).  Off heat whisk in butter and parsley and season to taste with S&P.

Carve and serve with the sauce at table.




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