My friends think I’m being funny when I tell them that I really couldn’t cook when I met my husband. When we were first married I decided that I would surprise my hubby with a fancy roast chicken dinner. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing so I called my mother. Like most newlyweds I called her from the grocery store and asked her how to roast this little chicken I had just purchased. She assumed I was talking about Cornish Game Hens and told me 30 minutes or something like that for a perfectly golden bird.
My husband has a fear of two things. Anything that has a stinger and raw chicken. He doesn’t even like to touch it! So here I am, proudly standing at the edge of the table with my little carving set in hand, ready to carve open my roast chicken that had only been roasted for 30 minutes. I was so excited! Then, I carved open an almost completely raw bird. He was horrified! I was horrified! Naturally, not having a clue what I had done wrong, I decided that the best idea was to cut the chicken open, lay it flat and broil it until it was no longer raw. Thirty minutes and one small fire later, we ordered pizza.
I am proud to say that I can most certainly roast a chicken now. This mojo chicken combines citrus, garlic and flavorful spices to make a delicious roast chicken! Allowing the chicken time to marinate really helps keep the chicken juicy and flavorful throughout. I served mine with chimichurri sauce, black beans and rice and it made for the perfect Sunday night dinner.
Roast Mojo Chicken
A Gourmet: Day to Day original
1 whole 3-4 lb chicken (You could also do this with a quartered chicken, just adjust the cooking time)
1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (more to taste)
1 teaspoon each of Orange Zest, Lemon Zest, Lime Zest (once zested, slice the citrus into rings)
To begin, dry chicken off thoroughly with a paper towel. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine all dry ingredients cumin though oregano. Mix to combine.
Take 1/8th cup of olive oil and rub all over the chicken. Next take the spice mix and coat the entire chicken well with all of it. Be sure to get a little in the cavity of the chicken. Also be sure to rub some of the spice mix underneath the skin of the breast (be careful not to tear the skin when doing this). Now do the same with the citrus zest, rubbing it into the chicken, underneath the skin of the breast and inside the cavity.
Transfer chicken to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to marinate 4 hours or even overnight in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to roast the chicken, remove from fridge about 30 minutes prior to cooking. To roast, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay slices of citrus on the bottom of the roasting pan to act as a rack for the chicken. Add a slice or two of each piece of citrus to the inside cavity of the chicken. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. If you are comfortable trussing a chicken, go ahead and truss it, if not, use kitchen twine to just tie the legs together. This will help the chicken to roast more evenly.
Drizzle chicken with remaining 1/8th of a cup of olive oil.
Depending on the size of your bird, roast the chicken for an hour and half up to up to an hour and forty five minutes, uncovered. About every 30 minutes baste the chicken with the juices that have accumulated in the bottom of the pan, spooning it over the chicken. The chicken is cooked through when an instant read thermometer reads 180 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh, not touching the bone.
Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Drizzle with chimichurri sauce to serve.