Roast Chicken with Two Lemons

This is a staple in our house - always moist, simple, easy and delicious. It's self-basting so no oil or butter is required - it will not stick to the pan. Great for chicken salads and anything that requires cooked chicken without extra flavors interfering. This is a shortened version of the recipe from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

Whole Chicken (3-5 lbs), giblets removed
2 Small Lemons

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Pierce the lemons 5 times with a fork. Pat the chicken dry.

3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper inside and out. I sometimes put s & p inside the skin of the breasts.

4. Stuff the bird with the lemons and close the cavity up with a toothpick to prevent the lemons from falling out (don't do it too tightly or the chicken will burst). Although, honestly sometimes the lemons are just too big so I go with one and a half or I leave the cavity open and hope for the best.

5. Place bird breast side down on roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the bird over and cook for another 30 minutes (or leave it - the turning is just for color on the skin of the breasts which is nice for presentation).

6. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast until the bird is done, about 20 minutes more. Allow for 20-25 minutes of total cooking time for each pound.

The juices from the bird are delicious - I spoon them over pieces of the chicken when serving.

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