I used my new BBQ to roast this chicken and it turned out well. Brown and crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. Stuffing the chicken with the ricotta mixture is a bit tedious but my stepson TJ and his girlfriend Kim gave the flavor a positive review.
You do not need to use a BBQ to roast this chicken, it’s just an option, but if you decide to use your BBQ, you will need to cook the chicken over indirect heat, which means heating the whole BBQ to a high heat, placing the prepared chicken directly on the BBQ grates and then turning off the burners directly under the chicken. Keep the BBQ at about 375-400 degrees F and your chicken should be golden brown and cooked in about 1 1/2 hours, check the thigh and breast with a thermometer, looking for 180 degrees F.
The directions section of this recipe will be using an oven.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 1/2 hours
1 whole chicken, 4-5 pounds-rinsed off with cold water inside and out and then pat dry
12 ounces or 1 1/2 cups ricotta-store bought is fine for this.
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Zest and juice of 2 lemons-divide in half
2 tablespoons each of finely chopped fresh thyme, oregano, basil and parsley- divide mixture in half. Add half to the ricotta mixture and use half to rub all over the outside of the chicken.
2 large garlic cloves minced- divide in half
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place chicken, skin side up on counter or plastic cutting board- with kitchen scissors, cut along both sides of backbone the entire length of chicken. Remove whole backbone and tail. Twist wing tips under back.
2. Now press down on chicken with palms of hands to pop bones so that the chicken will lie flat.
3. Using a sharp paring knife and your fingers, loosen skin over top of the chicken and drumsticks starting at neck edge. Be careful not to tear or cut the skin. Mix ricotta, parmesan cheese, egg, half of the herbs, half of the garlic and juice and zest of one lemon.
4. Carefully spoon cheese mixture under skin of chicken, pressing with your fingers to distribute evenly over the chicken and drumsticks.
5. Mix oil with the rest of the herbs, garlic, zest and juice of second lemon. Brush chicken all over with this mixture. Now sprinkle with the paprika and liberally season with the salt and pepper.
6. Place chicken on rack in roasting pan and then place in the oven. Add a little water to the bottom of the pan so that the drippings don’t burn. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until golden brown all over and the internal temperature of the chicken is 180 degrees F. As soon as it measures this temperature, remove the chicken from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes. Now cut the chicken into 4 quarters and serve.
I made a lemon thyme sauce to serve with this chicken, it was super delicious. It wasn’t really necessary because the chicken was quite flavorful and juicy but see the recipe below.
Juice of one lemon
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 vegetable or chicken bouillon cube
Salt and pepper to taste
Place a medium-size pot over medium heat and melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook it for about 1 minute. Whisk the chicken stock into the roux along with the thyme, bring up to a simmer and let boil gently for 5 minutes. Season the gravy with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and the juice of one lemon. You can also add the chicken drippings from the roast chicken to the gravy for extra flavor but skim off the fat first. When finished it will be a light gravy, not thick.