Lemon Curd and Black Pepper Roasted Chicken

Lemon Curd and Black Pepper Roasted Chicken
Staff Writer
Lemon Curd and Black Pepper Roasted Chicken

John Lee

Lemon Curd and Black Pepper Roasted Chicken

A perfectly roasted chicken is what many cooks dream of as quite possibly their last meal, and many more before then. It's Sunday dinner pared down to its bare essentials; just juicy, tender meat and crisp, crackling skin carved away by fork and knife.

Click here to see 101 Ways to Cook Chicken

Ingredients

For the brine

  • 1  Tablespoon  black peppercorns
  • 2  Teaspoons  Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
  • 2  Teaspoons  coriander seeds
  • 8  Cups  water
  • Scant 1 cup kosher salt
  • red Thai chile, sliced or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • One 4- to 5-pound free-range chicken

For the lemon curd

  • large egg yolks
  • 1/3  Cup  sugar
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 2  Tablespoons  unsalted butter, diced
  • 1  Tablespoon  black peppercorns
  • 1  Teaspoon  coriander seeds
  • 1  Teaspoon  finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1  Teaspoon  finely chopped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1  Cup  plus 1 tablespoon water, plus more as needed

Directions

For the brine

Put the black peppercorns, Sichuan peppercorns, if using, and coriander seeds into a saucepan and toast over medium-low heat, swirling the pan, until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the water and the salt, increase the heat to medium-high, and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the remaining water and the chile. Let cool to room temperature.

Rinse the chicken well under cold water. Transfer to a tall narrow plastic container just large enough to hold it. Pour the brine over the chicken and adjust the bird if necessary so it is completely immersed. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, or preferably overnight.

For the lemon curd

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized saucepan, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and lemon zest and juice until combined. Put the pan over low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is very thick and hot, but just below a simmer, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter a little at a time until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, press the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer set over a small bowl to remove the zest. Cover and let stand until cool or refrigerate if not using right away.

Position a rack in a roasting pan. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels and set it on the rack in the pan. Let the chicken come to room temperature, 20-30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Coarsely crush the black peppercorns and coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle or on a cutting board with the bottom of a small pan. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the rosemary and sage. Add three-quarters of the spice mixture to the lemon curd, along with 1 tablespoon of the water, and stir to combine.

Pat the chicken again with paper towels to make sure it is completely dry. Gently loosen the skin by sliding your fingers between the breast and skin and working them down to the thighs and drumsticks. Spoon half the lemon curd under the breast skin and use your hands to spread the curd evenly under the loosened skin all the way to the legs.

With kitchen twine, tie the legs together tightly. Brush the remaining curd evenly over the surface of the chicken, coating the whole bird. Sprinkle the remaining spice mix evenly over the chicken. Return to the rack in the pan and pour the remaining water into the pan.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and continue roasting until the chicken is golden brown and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced, 1 ½-1 ¾ hours. Add water ½ cup at a time to the pan if it starts to dry out. Let the chicken stand for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
16g
23%
Sugar
4g
4%
Saturated Fat
4g
17%
Cholesterol
3mg
1%
Carbohydrate, by difference
63g
48%
Protein
15g
33%
Vitamin A, RAE
520µg
74%
Vitamin B-12
1µg
42%
Vitamin B-6
1mg
77%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
2µg
2%
Calcium, Ca
398mg
40%
Choline, total
27mg
6%
Fiber, total dietary
11g
44%
Folate, total
189µg
47%
Iron, Fe
25mg
100%
Magnesium, Mg
138mg
43%
Manganese, Mn
2mg
100%
Niacin
13mg
93%
Pantothenic acid
1mg
20%
Phosphorus, P
353mg
50%
Riboflavin
1mg
91%
Selenium, Se
22µg
40%
Sodium, Na
308mg
21%
Thiamin
1mg
91%
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)
1µg
7%
Water
383g
14%
Zinc, Zn
3mg
38%

Lemon Shopping Tip

Buying fruits in season when they are at the peak of their freshness make for great tasting food and can save you money.

Lemon Cooking Tip

Don’t throw out your overripe fruit – instead blend into a smoothie or salad dressing, add to muffin batter, bake into a cobbler, or boil down with sugar and a little lemon juice to make jam.