Jan invited her new half-brother to dinner so I was planning a nice meal. In the end he came down sick and didn’t come. I’m afraid he missed a really nice meal.
I just made my Christmas jams—orange and lemon—I decided to use the lemon jam to sauce the chicken. My micro marmalades have very small bits of rind in them so they are closer to a jelly, than a jam. After marinating the chicken in wine, I mixed an herb and jam butter to spread under the skin and in the cavity of the bird.
Karl’s Lemon Marmalade Roast Chicken
4-5 lb. roasting chicken
½ tsp. Kosher salt
¾ cup Marsala wine
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup Karl’s Micro Lemon Marmalade
1 Tbs. fresh thyme, minced
½ tsp. black pepper
1. Several hours before dinner—preferably the night before—rinse and pat the bird dry. Separate the skin from the breast and thighs.
Tip: Lay the chicken on its back with the neck facing away from you. Slide your fingers under the skin at the back of the breast bone and spread your fingers apart. Try not to rip the skin any wider near the breast bone. Push your hand in further and repeat the finger spreading. Slide your fingers over the outside of the thighs. You should now have much of the skin separated from the meat on both sides of the bird.
2. Sprinkle the bird lightly with salt and set it inside a sealable gallon plastic bag—neck side down.
Tip: Sprinkle the salt inside, outside and under the skin.
3. Pour half of the wine under the skin around the breast.
4. Pour the rest of the wine into the cavity of the bird .
5. Press as much air out of the bag as you can and seal it.
6. Massage the bird to distribute the wine under the skin and to coat the outside skin with the wine.
Note: The wine in the cavity will leak out and provide plenty of liquid to do this. This is also why you put the bird in the bag before adding the wine.
7. Three hours before dinner, mix butter, marmalade, thyme, and pepper in a small bowl.
Tip: Discard any wine remaining in the bag.
Note: If you are using a commercial lemon marmalade you may need to remove the lemon rind chunks—with a fine meshed sieve—before making your butter paste. The chunky bits would lift up the chicken skin and it might burn at those points.
8. Smear half of the butter paste under the skin, over the breast, thighs, and legs.
9. Smear the remaining marinade inside the cavity and over the skin of the chicken.
10. Seal the cavity by sewing up the skin.
Tip: I usually pull the flaps of skin at the cavity opening together and use 2-3 toothpicks to stitch them together.
11. Truss the legs with string and fold the first joint of the wings under the breast to pin the wings to the bird.
Tip: Take a piece of string and tie it to one end of the leg. Wrap the string around the end of the other leg and draw them together. Tie the ends of the string together to hold the legs in place.
12. Lay the bird, breast side up, on a wire rack in a roasting pan and pour a cup of water into the bottom of the pan.
Tip: This prevents the juices from burning as they leak out of the bird and onto the pan. It also provides you with the liquid to make a savory gravy to go with your bird.
Note: Lining the roasting pan with aluminum foil is an ecologically suspect technique, but it makes cleanup easier.
13. Leave the buttered bird on the counter to warm to room temperature, about 40 minutes..
Tip: The bird will cook more evenly if it is not cold from the refrigerator.
14. Preheat the oven to 425º F.
15. Put the chicken in the oven, on the middle level, and reduce the heat to 350º F.
16 . Rotate the pan after 30 minutes and insert a constant read thermometer set to 165º F into the breast near the wing joint.
Tip: If the top of the breast skin looks like it might burn, cover it lightly with some aluminum foil to prevent it from getting over done.
Note: Whenever I under-cook a chicken it is where the wing meets the breast, where the juices are still not running clear. Roasting a whole chicken is always a delicate balance between some bits being over done and salmonella.
17. Continue roasting until the chicken is done.
Tip: Poke the breast right by the wing joint, if the juices run clear the bird is done.
Note: Depending on the size of the bird and your ovens exact temperature it should take about an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and thirty minutes to roast the chicken.
18. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and cover it with aluminum foil to rest for 15 minutes.
Tip: This rest will bring the internal temperature of the bird to 170º F.
19. Carve the bird at the table.
1. Place the potatoes around the bird on the serving platter.
Tip: Makes a nice presentation and one less plate to clean.
2. strain the pan juices into a small pot and bring it to a boil. Add some corn starch mixed with water or flour mixed with milk to thicken the sauce into a gravy.