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Pot-Roasted Mediterranean Chicken

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Serves four.

  • by Miriam Fenster, Haim Schlesinger from Fine Cooking
    Issue 49

Part of this dish's bright flavor comes from preserved lemons, which are fresh lemons that have been cured in salt. You can make your own), or buy them in grocery or specialty shops (Haddouch Gourmet Imports—866-445-5566—sells preserved lemons. A 10-oz. jar is $6.95). We like to serve this with couscous mixed with garlic and parsley.

  • 3-1/2 lb. whole chicken, rinsed and dried
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 sprigs fresh marjoram, 10 inches each, leaves stripped
  • 7 sprigs fresh thyme, 4 inches each, leaves stripped
  • 6 medium cloves garlic
  • 5 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 preserved lemon (or 1 fresh lemon), sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 7 oz. pitted black olives, such as kalamata
  • 9 oz. button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup (1-1/2 oz.) sun-dried tomatoes, softened in very hot water
  • 1 medium onion, cut into eighths
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine

Heat the oven to 425°F. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Using a mini food processor, a mortar and pestle, or a knife, mash together the marjoram, thyme, garlic, and 1 Tbs. of the olive oil to form a rough paste.

Slide your fingers between the chicken's skin and flesh to loosen the skin on the breast, thigh, and leg areas. Rub the herb paste onto the flesh under the skin so it's distributed as evenly as possible. Put half of the lemon slices, half of the olives, and one-third of the mushrooms in the cavity. Truss the bird, if you like, and put it, breast side up, in an enameled cast-iron pot or a Dutch oven. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and arrange them around the chicken. Scatter the onion pieces and the remaining lemon slices, olives, and mushrooms around the chicken as well. Pour the white wine and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over the vegetables around the chicken. Roast, basting every 10 min. or so with the pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer in the thigh meat reads 170°F or the juices run clear, 1 to 1-1/4 hours; the vegetables should be tender.

To serve, set the chicken on a carving board and spoon out the vegetables from the cavity. Defat the pan juices and serve as a sauce, if you like. Remove any trussing, carve the bird, and serve on a platter with the lemons, olives, mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes arranged around the chicken.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per serving with skin; Calories (kcal): 830; Fat (g): 56; Fat Calories (kcal): 510; Saturated Fat (g): 12; Protein (g): 56; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 33; Carbohydrates (g): 19; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 9; Sodium (mg): 1690; Cholesterol (mg): 210; Fiber (g): 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is the best chicken dish I ever made. My friends and family have enjoyed it many times. One friend says he wants it to be his "last meal."

This is an excellent recipe. The first time you make it you need to be careful not to tear the skin when stuffing it. You will get the hang of it after doing it once. It is a real crowd pleaser. It is hard to find preserved lemons so if you want to make this recipe start your lemons now..You can use regular lemons and it works just fine.

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