Caramelized Lemon Chicken
Making a chicken shine with glaze typically requires combining a form of sugar (like honey or maple syrup) with something to balance that sweetness, like lemon juice. But there is an ingredient in your baking arsenal that does both of those things: lemon curd. The sugars in the curd help the skin caramelize to a deep mahogany, while the curd’s fat and moisture keep the meat juicy. Spread it on chicken and each bite gets perfumed with sunny lemon. While you can make this recipe using chicken just as you purchased it, the added step of removing the backbone (also known as spatchcocking or butterflying) ensures all parts get browned.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ½cup store-bought lemon curd
- Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- Black pepper
- 1chicken (about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds)
- 1tablespoon olive oil
Step 1Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the lemon curd with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
Step 2To butterfly the chicken, place the chicken on a cutting board, breast side down. Using sharp kitchen shears, remove the backbone by cutting on either side of the backbone. (Save the backbone for stock.) Flip the chicken, setting it breast side up, and flatten by pressing firmly in the center; you should hear a crack.
Step 3Pat chicken dry. Season the chicken on both sides with 2 teaspoons salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Use the handle of a fork or spoon to loosen the skin from the chicken breasts and thighs (you’ll find openings at their tops).
Step 4Spread about three-quarters of the lemon curd between the skin and meat. Use your fingers to massage the curd around so it spreads out under the skin. Spread the rest of the lemon curd in a thin layer all over the chicken skin. Drizzle with the olive oil.
Step 5Pour 3/4 cup water into a large (at least 12-inch) oven-safe skillet, shallow roasting pan or sheet pan. (The water keeps the pan drippings from burning and keeps the chicken moist.) Add the chicken, skin side up. Tuck the wings under to prevent burning and turn the legs so the thighs face up. Roast until a thermometer registers 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh, 45 minutes to 1 hour, starting to check the chicken at 30 minutes. If at any point it starts getting too brown, cover it with foil. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.