Full disclosure: I wrote this post ALMOST A YEAR AGO, and then promptly forgot to publish it. I thought about rewriting it to make the appropriate time changes, but I know you all understand – so here goes!
So remember last year when I talked about the idea of a seasonal menu? I had this basic menu that I served to all of my dinner guests that summer. And I planned on continuing the idea for the fall. Which then turned into winter. And then spring.
But sometime in late spring I made this dinner that I’d come across in The Kitchn and OMGITWASSODAMNGOOD.
I tweaked the recipe a bit – really just the execution, as the ingredients were perfect – and have been turning it out on the regular since then. Everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – loves it, and with good reason.
The marinade is super flavorful – lots of brewed tea, lemon juice, lemon peel and sugar. And the kosher salt creates a brining liquid that also ensures a moist chicken that you basically cannot overcook.
The sliced lemons are so pretty and the last-minute basting of honey is YUM.
I like to brown the chicken before my guests arrive, since it’s the messiest and most time consuming part of the recipe. The chicken then contentedly cooks itself – unattended – in the oven while drinks are served. It also doubles beautifully, so it’s perfect for feeding a crowd. Simply brown the chicken in batches (you can do this early in the day), and then transfer to a large pan or rimmed baking sheet before putting in the oven. It’s a great party dish!
lightly adapted from The Kitchn
4 cups water
4 black tea bags
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
3-4 pound chicken, cut up (or any parts that you like) **
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
Peel two of the lemons into 1″ strips – juice both lemons.
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Turn off the heat, add the tea bags and lemon peels, cover the pot, and let the tea steep for 10 minutes. Uncover, remove the tea bags, stir in the sugar and salt, and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Place the chicken pieces in a large zip-top bag and pour in the tea and reserved lemon juice. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Remove the chicken from the brine, pat it dry with paper towels, and season it with pepper. Slice the remaining 2 lemons.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chicken to the skillet, skin-side down and evenly spaced apart (you may have to do this in 2 batches). Cook until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp and golden-brown, adjusting the heat if the skin begins to burn, about 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the chicken over and tuck in the lemon slices. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 40 minutes, till the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Brush the skin with the honey and continue cooking for another 2 – 3 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.
**Note: If doubling the recipe cook the chicken in batches in a skillet as above, but after browning transfer to a foil-lined pan or baking sheet before placing in the oven to finish cooking.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver
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