Chicken

Alive 'n Kickin' Roast Chicken with Lime, Caramelized Onions, Chili and Thyme

September 10, 2013
Author Notes

I love the compatibility of lime, thyme, bay, red chile flakes and onion, so i used them together as a riff on another recipe of mine, Lemon Chicken Lorenza. The creamy richness of the butter blends together the warmth of the herbs , the kick of the red chile, the sweet smokiness of the onion and the piquant tang of the lime. This is the solution for all those 'citrus' chickens you've roasted that left you asking "Where's the lemon/lime?" I guess I feel so proud of it because I was able to successfully adapt a very complicated recipe- to make a much shorter prep time, with the same flavor results. —LE BEC FIN

  • Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken, 3 1/2-4 pounds
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 tablespoon freshly ground coarse black pepper
  • 2 medium or 1 large grated yellow onion* (large hole on grater)
  • 2 teaspoons dry thyme
  • 4 small bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 ounces melted unsalted butter(may need more)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Measure your salt and pepper in individual bowls. In a mortar or coffee grinder, break up the bay leaves into small pieces and transfer to a bowl. Rubbing the thyme between the palms of your hands, add the thyme to the bay. Add chili flakes. Add this mixture to the onion and stir well. Rinse chicken in cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels. In a ceramic or glass baking dish slightly larger than the bird, place the chicken on its back, and fold the wings behind its 'head’ (think of it lying on the beach with its hands under its head and its elbows out!). Put half the salt in the palm of your hand and pat to cover the breast side (top) of the bird. and inside the cavity. Take the remaining salt in your palm and pat it all over the back of the bird and inside the cavity. Do the same with the pepper. Place the bird on its back in the dish. Loosen the skin from the body of the breast , thighs and legs. Pat the grated onion mixture under the skin of the breast, thighs and legs, saving a little for the top and bottom of the bird and the cavity. With a baster, squirt the lime juice under the breast and leg skin; pour the rest over the top and a little in the cavity. Pour the melted butter to cover and seal the top of the bird.(Melt and add more if needed to cover the bird.) Let the chicken rest at room temperature for a minimum of 6 hours, or chill it to harden the butter and then place the dish in a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight (or up to 2 days),and remove from refrigerator and bag 2 hours before cooking.
  2. With the oven at 400 degrees F, roast the bird for 20 minutes (or 15 minutes if it is getting too brown). Turn down the oven to 350 degrees F . Remove bird from oven and baste all over the top, including under the skin. Roast 15 minutes, remove and baste as before. Roast another 30-45 mminutes, removing and basting every 15 minutes, as before. Legs should be loose in their sockets. If not, baste and roast another 15 minutes , til browned and legs are loose.
  3. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes in a warm spot. Carve (generously sauce!) and serve with basmati rice to absorb the piquant juices. Give your guests forks, knives, and SPOONS!
  4. * The best way i have found to avoid tears is to grate the onion outside.

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I am always on the lookout for innovative recipes, which is why I am just ga-ga over my recently- discovered Food52 with its amazingly innovative and talented contributors. My particular eating passions are Japanese, Indian, Mexican; with Italian and French following close behind. Turkish/Arabic/Mediterranean cuisines are my latest culinary fascination. My desert island ABCs are actually 4 Cs: citrus, cumin, cilantro, and cardamom. I am also finally indulging in learning about food history; it gives me no end of delight to learn how and when globe artichokes came to the U.S., and how and when Jerusalem artichokes went from North America to Europe. And that the Americas enabled other cuisines to become glorious. I mean where would those countries be without: Corn, Tomatoes, Chiles,Peanuts, Dried Beans, Pecans, Jerusalem Artichokes??! While I am an omnivore, I am, perhaps more than anything, fascinated by the the world of carbohydrates, particularly the innovative diversity of uses for beans, lentils and grains in South Indian and other cuisines. Baking gives me much pleasure, and of all the things I wish would change in American food, it is that we would develop an appreciation for sweet foods that are not cloyingly sweet, and that contain more multigrains. (Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a country of great bakeries instead of the drek that we have in the U.S.?!) I am so excited by the level of sophistication that I see on Food52 and hope to contribute recipes that will inspire you like yours do me. I would like to ask a favor of all who do try a recipe of mine > Would you plse write me and tell me truthfully how it worked for you and/or how you think it would be better? I know many times we feel that we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but. i really do want your honest feedback because it can only help me improve the recipe.Thanks so much.