This recipe has been in my family ever since I can remember. I have seen variations of it in cookbooks from all over the world, and in various cuisine websites.
When we refer to this dish we usually call it "pollo coi limoni nel c..." alluding to where exactly it is the lemons enter the chicken.
Despite its uncouth name, this dish is always very popular. It's easy to make, and has saved my own culo in the course of many improvised meals, with the unexpected dinner guests routinely licking their fingers and the plate clean.
|Image © paperogiallo|
Essential to any successful dish–I'll never tire of repeating this–are natural, wholesome ingredients. Choose a healthy chicken, that's not been fed hormones, antibiotics, or animal protein. A bird that's had plenty of time to cluck about in wide, open spaces. I'm lucky enough to have a retailer nearby that sells San Bartolomeo broilers.
|Real free-tange chickens in the San Bartolomeo farm|
The lemons I use are plucked off my mother's tree, two blocks from my apartment, in the garden I grew up in. I know the only thing I scrub off these lemons is dirt. No chemicals, no pesticides, no wax... niente.
|Mamma's organic lemons|
The ingredient list is short, and the instructions are brief. Please don't let them scare you with things like, 'the mark of a top chef is roast chicken.' This failsafe recipe will guarantee a perfect pollo, crisp on the outside, with under it succulent, tender meat.
1 whole chicken, possibly free range
2 organic lemons
1 beef stock cube
Preheat oven at 180° C (350° F).
Burn off any excess feather stubble over the stove and give the bird a nice bath. Carefully towel dry inside and out.
Soften the lemons by rubbing them between your palms (good exercise for cleavage). Cut one lemon in half and poke holes in the other with a fork. Insert the lemons and the stock cube in the chicken, apologizing for intrusiveness.
Seal the opening shut using toothpicks (or poultry skewers) and kitchen string, and then tie the drumsticks together.
Place in a high-rimmed oven pan, and bake for 30 minutes, basting often with resulting juices.
Raise the heat and broil for another 10 minutes. To check final cooking, poke drumstick with a fork: juices should run clear.
This particular recipe's simplicity is directly proportionate to its mouthwatering goodness. It'd be a crime not to perform scarpetta. Or discarding the precious skin.