THREE-LEMON CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole chicken, 2kg to 2.5kg
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 whole lemon, thinly sliced, optional

METHOD

  • Remove the loose, papery outer skin from the head of garlic. Cut about 1.5cm off the top to expose the cloves. Place the garlic head on large square of aluminum foil and drizzle olive oil over the top of the cloves. Fold up the foil sides and seal to make a packet, leaving a little room for the expansion of steam. Grill over indirect medium heat (180°C to 230°C) until the cloves are soft, 30 to 45 minutes, with the lid closed as much as possible. Remove the garlic from the grill and allow to cool. Squeeze the garlic from the individual cloves into a small bowl.
  • In the bowl with the garlic, combine the lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  • Remove and discard the neck, giblets, and any excess fat from the chicken. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the meat of the chicken breast to make a space for the paste. Spread half of the paste under the chicken breast skin, spreading it gently until the meat is covered. Season the inside of the chicken cavity with salt and pepper and add the rosemary sprigs.
  • Truss the chicken with cotton string. Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the wine into the cavity. Coat the outside surface of the chicken with the other half of the paste, pressing it into the skin.
  • Grill the chicken, breast side up, over indirect medium heat until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 75ºC in the breast and 80ºC in the thickest part of the thigh, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. Keep the lid closed as often as possible during grilling.
  • For a beautiful presentation, halfway through grilling time, carefully slide 3 lemon slices under the string on top of the chicken breasts.
  • Remove the chicken from the grill and transfer to a platter. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before removing the string and carving. Serve warm.

PREP TIME

Prep time: 15 minutes
Grilling time: 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours
Serves: 4 to 6

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