Roast Chicken with Preserved Lemon Marinade

Remember that preserved lemons recipe I posted in early September? Well, I popped open a jar and made a delicious lemon and cilantro marinade for roasting a chicken that I adapted from this recipe. Yum, yum, yum. The chicken was really flavorful, with a crispy-lemony-cilantro skin, and I used the juices left in the pan to make a quick gravy (directions on that, below). I served the tasty chicken with a sweet potato and yukon gold gratin. The gratin recipe will be posted within the next few days, because I want you to have it prior to any Thanksgiving meal you may be planning. It will be a delicious and savory addition.

Here's my adaptation of the Roasted chicken with Preserved Lemon marinade for you to give a whirl. I forgot to take a photo of the end result, but I'll post one the next time I make this dish. This marinade is going to be thick, so don't get concerned if you make it and it's not super smooth and watery. If you don't have preserved lemons handy, I bet you can get them from a Whole Foods-type store...but it's not too late to make your own preserved lemons, you know...

Oh, and check out the note at the bottom of the recipe, where I explain how I made a quick chicken stock from the carcass.

Recipe: Roast Chicken with Preserved Lemon Marinade

You'll need:
  • 2 medium preserved lemons, rinsed well to remove the salt and the pulp separated from the rinds
  • 3 tbsp cilantro, tightly packed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 lemon (or 2Tbsp lemon juice)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 1/2-4 lb chicken
  • fresh ground black pepper
Combine lemon rinds (discard the pulp) and the next six ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

Smear the chicken all over with the marinade, season with black pepper, and stuff 1/2 a lemon into the body cavity. Place in a pyrex dish or other roasting pan. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours, or overnight.

To roast chicken, preheat oven to 350degrees, and roast chicken approx. 1 1/2 hours, or until juices from chicken thigh run clear (give the thigh a slice with a knife to check), or meat thermometer reads 165degrees. Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

To make gravy:
If there is an excess of oil in the roasting pan, skim off some of the fat. Otherwise, add 1/2 cup of water and gently scrape up caramelized pieces. Transfer liquid to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Add 1-2 tsp flour and stir continuously, until gravy thickens. (I thought my gravy was a bit too thick, so I added a squeeze of lemon juice and a little more water. Use your own judgment and taste preference). Season with a little black pepper, if needed, and transfer to a small gravy boat.

After the chicken had been picked mostly clean of meat, I submerged the carcass in a pot of water, added an onion, a few chopped carrots, and some celery. I then heated up the pot until boiling, dropped it down to a simmer, and cooked for about an hour. After it cooled down, I poured everything through a sieve over another large pot or bowl. Voila, homemade chicken stock! The stock then went into 3 1/2 cup containers and were frozen for use at a later time.

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