There are some meals we’ve made so many times, it feels like we’re just going through the motions when we eat them. Pasta with red sauce, arroz con pollo, beef and broccoli stir-fry – they’re great weeknight meals, but not too exciting. That’s the same way we feel about roast chicken. A whole chicken is affordable, makes leftovers, and can be thrown in the oven and left to roast at its leisure and results in a decent meal. But as with our other weeknight favorites, a little extra work can totally transform a roast chicken from weeknight lifesaver to dinner party star, and Martha Stewart’s Roast Chicken with Lemony Harissa Glaze is our new favorite iteration.
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Previously, our star roast chicken recipe came from Ina Garten. Her roast chicken, stuffed with lemons, was the first whole roast chicken recipe many of us ever tried, and it’s consistently delicious every time, but after all these years it’s not exactly exciting.
Leave it to our other favorite cookbook author and culinary instructor to come up with our new favorite roasted chicken recipe.
Stewart’s sweet, tangy, and spicy recipe builds on the harmony that exists between roast chicken and lemon. It calls for her homemade Meyer-lemon and cardamom marmalade, which we definitely recommend trying, but if you don’t have what you need to make it (or, let’s be honest, don’t have the time), then you can use store bought lemon marmalade or preserves as well.
The recipe starts by making an intensely flavorful paste out of scallions, garlic, lemon zest and juice, ginger, cilantro, and harissa paste. The mixture is rubbed under and over and inside your chicken, which should be spatchcocked. If you can’t find spatchcocked chicken at your grocery store, you can do it yourself by using a pair of strong kitchen shears to remove the backbone from your chicken, then press the bird open.
The spice-rubbed, spatchocked chicken is placed on top of a bed of onions, and is topped with lemon slices. After the chicken starts to roast, it’s basted in a blend of the spice paste and lemon marmalade, which results in a sticky, tangy, spicy, robustly flavorful glaze on your bird.
You may be used to having leftovers when you make a roasted chicken, but with this recipe from Martha Stewart, you’ll be lucky if you’re left with anything more than chicken bones. It’s nearly impossible not to pick the sweet and spicy meat from the bones until it’s gone. Pair with Jamie Oliver’s 3-ingredient roast lemon potatoes and Ina Garten’s baked spinach and zucchini, and you’ve got a memorable meal that’s perfect for company, or for those days when you just want to treat yourself to a nice meal at home.