Roast Chicken Stuffed With Preserved Lemon and Herbs

Roast Chicken Stuffed With Preserved Lemon and Herbs, by Joan Nathan

One 4- to 5-pound chicken
5 cloves garlic: 4 whole, 1 sliced in half
4 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lemon (either a fresh lemon, or preserved—see recipe below)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh sage
2 medium onions, quartered
2 celery stalks, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces
3 medium beets, quartered
1 fennel bulb, quartered
1 celery root, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 pound potatoes, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 fresh lemon, thinly sliced
Other vegetables of your choice, including zucchini, winter squash, tomato, string beans, etc.
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons preserved lemon liquid, optional
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, to garnish

1. Rinse and thoroughly dry the chicken. A wet chicken will steam rather than roast, so be diligent. Put the chicken in a large Pyrex roasting pan and rub the skin with the cut sides of the sliced garlic clove. Reserve the garlic for later.

2. Brush 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle generously with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Insert the preserved or fresh lemon and cut garlic clove into the cavity of the chicken, followed by the rosemary, thyme, and sage.

4. Scatter the 4 garlic cloves, onions, celery, carrots, beets, fennel, celery root, potatoes, lemon slices, and any other vegetables of your choice around the chicken, nestling them together if necessary. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with most coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour white wine and preserved lemon liquid, if using, over the vegetables.

5. Put the pan in a cold oven. Then raise the heat to 375 degrees and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, basting occasionally until golden and cooked through.

6. Remove the lemon from the cavity and let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, spoon the vegetables onto a serving platter, leaving space in the middle for the chicken. Chop up the lemon and scatter it over the vegetables. Set the chicken in the center of the vegetables and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Preserved Lemons, adapted from Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous (Knopf)

8 lemons, about 1 1/2 pounds
1/2 cup kosher salt, plus more if necessary
1 cup fresh lemon juice, plus more if necessary
3 fresh bay leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Cut off the very ends of each lemon. Cut each one lengthwise into quarters, cutting to, but not through, the opposite end. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt into the cut sides of each lemon.

2. Put the lemons in a large jar (it is fine if you have to squeeze them in as they will shrink), and cover completely with lemon juice and push in the bay leaves. Let sit on the counter for one day.

3. The next day, if not covered with lemon juice, pour a thin film of olive oil over the lemons. This will help keep them sealed while they preserve. Put the jar in the refrigerator or on a shelf and allow to cure for at least 3 weeks. Before using, scrape off the pulp if desired.

Yield: 8 preserved lemons

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