My New Favorite Roast Chicken

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Move over Zuni — there’s a new chicken in town, and it might just trump your own amazing one.  Deliciously Greek-y yet somewhat Zuni-y at the same time.  I might just add those Zuni croutons when I make this again because I AM going to make this again . . . soon.  You’re gonna wanna lay down in this because it is THAT good!

feta chicken

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 3 1/2- to 4-pound whole chicken
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons dried Greek oregano
  • 2 large lemons
  • ¼ cup olive oil, more as needed
  • 1 large bunch arugula or other sturdy salad greens, for serving

PREPARATION

  1. The day before serving, combine 2 ounces feta, 2 teaspoons salt and 4 cups water in a blender and blend until smooth. Put chicken in an extra-large resealable plastic bag or a container large enough to submerge chicken, and cover with the feta brine. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Before cooking, remove chicken from brine and transfer to a towel-lined tray. Discard brine. Now this part is SUPER IMPORTANT because the chicken needs to dry so the skin can get crispy:  Pat chicken dry with paper towels and allow to come to room temperature for 1 hour.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, the pepper, the oregano and the zest of the lemons (about 1 tablespoon). Liberally cover chicken in herb mix and gently massage entire bird. Halve lemons and place 3 halves in cavity (save remaining half for serving). Using kitchen twine, tie legs together.
  4. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add oil and heat until it just smokes. Place chicken, breast-side up, in pan. Transfer entire pan to oven. Cook, basting once or twice, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife, 50 to 60 minutes.  I did mine Mark and Tony style in a pan on the barbecue so I didn’t have a smoky kitchen.  Sadly, I have a history with smoke in the kitchen.
  5. Remove pan from oven, then stir remaining crumbled feta into juices in pan and stir well. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes in the pan before slicing and serving on a bed of greens, with feta-laced pan juices on top, drizzled with a little lemon juice from the reserved lemon half.

From my new BFF, Melissa Clark the NY Times.

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