Looking Forward to Friday: Jewish Chicken
Shabbat dinner is synonymous with roast chicken. Just because Jewish chicken isn’t spit roasted or southern fried or barbecued doesn’t make it bland. Especially not this Jewish chicken. This recipe comes from the new cookbook Eat Something, brought to you by the team behind the Wise Sons delis in San Francisco.
Once you realize how effortless this chicken is to make — yes, even on a Friday night after work — you’ll want to do it every week. The key is seasoning a dry chicken ahead of time, and letting it rest in the refrigerator, uncovered. Look for an “air-chilled” chicken at the grocery store, which just means it doesn’t have the added water content of a conventional bird and will roast better.
You’ll find more delicious recipes and relatable humor in Eat Something, available now wherever books are sold.
Serves 3 to 4
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1 Tbsp sweet paprika
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, lemon reserved
One 4 lb [1.8 kg] whole chicken, giblets removed
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 in [2.5 cm] cubes
2 large carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1 in [2.5 cm] lengths
½ medium yellow onion, cut into small wedges
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
In a small bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp of the salt, the paprika, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder until well combined. Add the lemon juice and stir until well mixed. Set aside.
Over an empty sink, use paper towels to pat the chicken dry thoroughly inside and out. This will take a few minutes, but the chicken will be better because of it. Place the chicken in a large bowl or on a large rimmed baking sheet. Using your hand, slather all the lemon-spice mixture over the entire bird, getting into all of the crevices and inside the cavity. This might seem like a lot of salt, but rest assured, it’s not. Stick the juiced lemon inside the bird.
Place the spice-rubbed chicken, breast-side up, on a small baking sheet or rimmed plate.
Extra points if you have a rack to slip under the chicken, but it’s not necessary. Pull the legs apart slightly so there is decent exposure to the air for maximum drying. Put the baking sheet on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, uncovered — the circulation of the cool air will help dry and firm up the skin, while the lemon juice tenderizes the meat and the salt penetrates the thicker parts of the bird.
Let the bird rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 425°F [220°C].
In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, carrots, and onion with 1 Tbsp of the oil and the remaining 1 tsp of kosher salt. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Gently place the chicken in the center, breast-side up. Scatter the potatoes, onion, and carrots around the bird, placing some of them underneath the legs and wings to prop them up. The pan will seem crowded.
Roast in the center of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until the juices run clear when you pierce the center of a thigh with the tip of knife, or an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F [75°C]. Leave the oven on and, using oven mitts, carefully transfer the chicken to a large carving board or platter. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, use a wooden spoon to toss the vegetables with all of juice in the pan. Return the skillet to the oven for 8 to 12 minutes, until the sugars have caramelized and the potatoes have a nice, evenly browned surface. Remove the pan from the oven and use a slotted spoon to scoop the vegetables onto a platter. Garnish with a few grinds of pepper.
Carve the chicken, and serve immediately. The chicken will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but the vegetables will be best enjoyed right away, as they will become a bit stale in the refrigerator.
This article is sponsored by Chronicle Books.