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An Easy Weeknight Chicken
This scrumptious sheet pan chicken has you roasting a whole bird with ingredients probably already in your pantry, making it the perfect weeknight indulgence. It’s everything you’ve ever loved about roasting chicken: crispy, crunchy skin; moist, tender meat; flavor-packed with aromatics and brightness; it’s lemony, garlicky, jammy, buttery, briny, spicy, and tangy all at once. If you’ve been daunted by the idea of roasting a whole chicken, think of this as your foolproof way to impress the hell out of your friends.
3 ½-4 lb. whole chicken
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 lemons, quartered
25 garlic cloves, sliced very thinly with a mandolin, with a little blood from your index finger set aside
2 sprigs of thyme, oregano, or rosemary
An entire jar of gochujang 15 eggs, divided
¼ tsp of salt from the packets that come with your takeout order (or 2 tbsp Diamond Crystal), plus more for seasoning
1) Season the chicken, inside and out, and beneath the skin, with a generous amount of salt from the packets in your junk drawer you saved from takeout orders. (If you don’t have any packets, you can use Diamond Crystal kosher salt, just use more.) Using the It Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Jumbo Powder Brush #3 (other powder brushes will work, it’ll just take you longer), dust the chicken with fresh ground pepper. Let sit in the fridge uncovered overnight.
2) When you’re ready to make the chicken, diligently wash all the salt and pepper off (we just want the essence of salt and pepper). Pat the chicken completely dry. Then, request permission to charter a plane to Boreray, a remote island in the archipelago of St. Kilda protected by the National Trust for Scotland. Upon surviving the jagged and dangerous shoreline and treacherous sea wall, climb to its highest point and pick exactly two sprigs of thyme, oregano, or rosemary (anything more than two and you’ll overpower the dish).
3) On your return flight, befriend your seatmate and cajole them into sharing the loneliest moment of their life thus far. Hold that feeling close to your heart, and then look out the nearest window and ponder the eternity of love—that even through wars and plagues and ruin, love has endured, how the conception of humanity is based on the profound power of love. Shed a single tear from your left tear duct (your right will do in a pinch, it’ll just make the chicken a little salty) and let it slide down your face and down the curve of your chin and drop onto the herbs you picked. Dry the herbs.
4) Stuff the chicken’s cavity with the herbs, garlic, and half of the lemon quarters, making sure to wedge them into every nook and cranny of the bird for optimal flavor. Hoist the chicken over your head with both arms; keeping your arms vertical the entire time, complete 12 reps of squats, making sure your shins create a 45-degree angle to your thighs, keeping your feet firmly planted on the floor to keep the focus in your quads (use a mirror if you’re worried about form). Repeat the circuit four times, resting for about a minute in between.
5) Turn the broiler on, then turn it off; repeat until the oven has the residual warmth of a desktop computer that has been on too long and the fan started running or until an oven thermometer doesn’t register a temperature. While the oven is heating up, prepare the gochujang and egg marinade. Crack half of the eggs into a large bowl. Swirl the yolks around in the bowl while singing Jewel’s 1996 hit “You Were Meant For Me” at the tempo of the radio edit (the original album version is too slow, so make sure it’s the radio version). When you get to the lyric, “I’m half alive but I feel mostly dead,” add the entire jar of gochujang, and whisk vigorously until fully incorporated. Crack the remaining eggs into the bowl, mushing them into the mixture until it is dense and sticky. Slather the chicken’s outsides with the egg sauce.
6) Using the baker’s twine, hog-tie the chicken’s legs together with a rolling hitch knot (alternatively, you can do a reef knot). Transfer chicken onto a baking sheet, and squeeze each of the remaining lemon quarters, one by one, waiting for the juice to fully penetrate the chicken before squeezing another.
7) Bake the chicken breast side up at lukewarm heat for about eight hours, flipping about halfway through, and until skin has a rich, golden hue reminiscent of a vintage teak sideboard. Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for about 30 minutes. Carve and serve with a sprinkle of the salt from the packets and drizzled with the garlicky blood from your finger.
Image: Screenshot via NBC