Ellen is the almost 90 year old mother of one of my best friends and one of my son’s adopted grandmas. The first time she offered him this chicken, he was about seven months old and he literally learned to use a spoon that night in order to eat it. The second time he howled when he saw other people eating some because he wanted all of it to himself.
This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, nut-free, bean-free, fish and shellfish free, nightshade-free, and egg-free. It is also really easy to prepare. It can be made kosher and can be made safe for Passover and does not use a lot of utensils to prepare (however, due to the lemon I would avoid preparing it in a disposable aluminum pan) Anyone avoiding salicylates should avoid the herb coated skin of the chicken.
This recipe is a bit oddly written as Ellen herself had never written it down so I just observed her and documented what she did. You can measure for all the steps if you prefer, or you can just do what she does and eyeball it.
Ingredients (all amounts are for one chicken)
1 chicken cut into standard parts (2 Drumsticks, 2 Thighs, 2 Wings, 2 Breasts cut in half horizontally (across the breast) to make them thigh sized). Make sure the skin is on and the chicken is not boneless. This recipie does not work with boneless or skinless chicken.
Garlic powder in a shaker bottle You will need about 2 tsp per chicken
Italian Seasoning mix (if you are avoiding salicylates just use a mixture of basil and oregano) You will need about 1/3 a cup of dried herbs (or 2/3 of a medium sized container of italian seasoning mix) per chicken. Yes that is a lot of herbs.
About 1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Black pepper
1 TBSP of Lemon Juice, or half a lemon
13 by 9 Stainless Steel Pan
Heavy Chefs Knife
If the butcher has not already done so, take each of the breast pieces and cut in half crosswise into approximately equal sized chunks making sure each chunk still has part of the ribs. One piece should be a sort of triangle and the other a sort of rectangle. Make sure that there is skin to cover both pieces.
Arrange chicken skin side UP in the pan or casserole dish so that pieces are touching and that you cannot see much of the pan between them. Use a smaller pan if needed.
Set the rack in your oven in the middle and preheat your oven to BROIL.
Shaje about 1 tsp of garlic powder onto the chicken making sure you get a relatively even amount on every piece of chicken.
Using your hands to crush the dried herbs, sprinkle about half of them or about 2 tablespoons on the chicken. The chicken should look pretty well covered by the herbs.
Shake salt and grind pepper onto chicken evenly. If you are trying to control salt intake, salt only this first side.
Put pan into scary hot oven, and close the door.
Check the oven frequently
In about 10 to 15 minutes your chicken should be sizzling and browning on top. Take it out of the oven.
Flip over each piece of chicken so that the skin side is now down. There should be a fair amount of drippings in the pan.
Repeat the garlic powder. herbs, salt and pepper process. Put the chicken back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so until this side is seared but the herbs are not burnt.
Pull the chicken out of the oven. Flip all of the pieces over again so that they are skin side up once again.
Add about 1/2 c of water and the lemon juice by pouring it into a corner of the pan (lemon juice dissolves the foil if they touch) Cover the pan tightly with foil. Put it back into the oven and turn the heat down to 400. Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove and check for doneness. You can keep the chicken covered in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes or so while you finish meal prep and get everyone seated.
Serve with rice or potatoes and a side salad.