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Marcella's Chicken w/ Lemons - Any Consensus on What to Roast It in?

MMRuth Jan 14, 2007 07:33 PM

I'm making this for the first time tonight. Our usual way of roasting chickens is to heat the oven on the highest temp, fill the cavity with some herbs/lemons/garlic - whatever is around - and roast breast side up the whole time in an oval cazuela - for about 20 minutes and then lower to 425 for about another 30-40 minutes.

The cazuela seems to work well, b/c it is the perfect size for the bird - as opposed to my larger stainless steel heavy duty rectangular roasting pan.

So, I'm wondering what the best pan to use is ... I've read through a lot of threads and seen a lot of suggestions. I do have a cast iron skillet (one suggestion made), though I'm not sure it's large enough to fit my chicken. And, I guess my other concern is about the breast sticking to the pan when I go to turn it over.


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  1. jillp RE: MMRuth Jan 14, 2007 07:42 PM

    I usually make Marcella's lemon chicken in an oval Le Creuset baking dish. It's the right size for the chicken and has enough surface area so that those wonderful juices won't slosh over the edge.

    1. AppleSister RE: MMRuth Jan 14, 2007 07:45 PM

      I always roast my Marcella chicken in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. I've never had problems with turning it over--I think the breast skin renders so much fat, it basically greases the pan, and my cast-iron skillet is pretty nonstick.

      1. King of Northern Blvd RE: MMRuth Jan 14, 2007 08:30 PM

        I do mine in a 10" cast iron skillet. Whenever I tried to use a Le Creuset the breast skin would stick.

        1. Tom Steele RE: MMRuth Jan 14, 2007 08:46 PM

          I also use a 1 1/2-quart oval Le Creuset gratin, but I also "cheat" and lightly butter or oil the bottom. Or I quickly open the oven after 5 minutes and jiggle the gratin so that the breast skin won't stick.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Tom Steele
            MMRuth RE: Tom Steele Jan 14, 2007 08:52 PM

            I'm wondering if my cazuela is in effect the same thing ...

            1. re: MMRuth
              JoanN RE: MMRuth Jan 14, 2007 09:45 PM

              I use a cast-iron skillet, but that's because I don't have a cazuela. I'd go ahead an try it. It cetainly makes for a lovlier presentation.

          2. Das Ubergeek RE: MMRuth Jan 14, 2007 10:20 PM

            I make mine in a roasting pan, same as for any other fowl that has the ill grace to make it to my oven.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Das Ubergeek
              MMRuth RE: Das Ubergeek Jan 14, 2007 10:21 PM

              LOL. Mine is in the cazuela, with a smear (I know that's wrong!) of olive oil underneath the breast. I'll report back. Off to shave the bottarga.

            2. r
              Rhee RE: MMRuth Jan 14, 2007 10:23 PM

              I butter a strip of folded aluminum foil, and use the foil to help turn the chicken. I have not had any problems with the foil pulling off the breast skin.

              1. b
                bdumes RE: MMRuth Jan 14, 2007 10:36 PM

                If you follow Marcella's instructions exactly, the chicken won't stick. Do make sure the chicken is VERY dry.

                I made this a few days ago and used an old 1940's enamel baking pan that I got at a yard sale and had no problems.

                1. free sample addict aka Tracy L RE: MMRuth Jan 15, 2007 12:41 AM

                  I make mine in a 9 x 13 non stick baking pan. The juice and schmaltz pour out easily and it cleans up quickly. I prefer using it to my big enameled roasting pan that I bought at the hardware store because the sides are lower and more air gets to the chicken. I prefer lighter pans than LC and cast iron because I have tennis elbow that flares up when I least expect it, lifting things that have hot fat in them are a real hazard for me. Like the previous poster stated if you follow the directions the chicken should not stick. I've done chicken with a similar preparation in a stainless steel cake pan with the same results.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L
                    Caitlin McGrath RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Jan 15, 2007 02:09 AM

                    I also use a 9x13 baking pan, not non-stick and fairly beat up, so I usually spritz it with a tiny bit of olive oil and follow the instructions re drying the bird. Have never had a problem with sticking, and the pan is the right size.

                  2. a
                    alfairfax RE: MMRuth Jan 15, 2007 02:09 AM

                    I have come to do the Marcella chicken in the Weber and only in the Weber with mesquite charcoal. Some almond wood is a nice smokey addition if you can get it.

                    1. MMRuth RE: MMRuth Jan 15, 2007 11:44 AM

                      First - thanks for all of the tips/suggestions - I kept going to my computer while fixing other things to see if there was more advice!

                      The chicken was delicious, the skin remained intact and I think there was some discernable puffing - but I wasn't sure how much puff is supposed to be achieved - given that Marcella says it is impressive when brought to the table, I don't think I got the full puff! It was beautiful though. I think the breast meat was the juiciest I've made, I may start doing the breast down for awhile thing from now on. My husband said that the dark meat was dryer than when we make it w/ the v. high heat, shorter time method. The lemon juices were lovely - next time I might stick some garlic/herbs in the cavity as well.

                      Started with Spaghetti with Bottarga, then on to the chicken, which I served with Marcella's green beans with parmesan (a big hit), arugula salad was omitted as the greens were older than I'd realized, and then we had some beautiful strawberries and hunks of parmigiano reggiano for people to drizzle aged balsamic vinegar on, and some gorgonzola dolce that I'd bought that morning.

                      Thanks again to all!

                      1. JoanN RE: MMRuth Jan 15, 2007 12:56 PM

                        Your husband's comment on the dark meat sent me back to this series of posts from a few months ago about combining the Hazan and Zuni preps and techniques. Since that experiment, I've become fully committed to the modified Hazan prep/Zuni technique for roasting chicken. Just for kicks I tried the ATK chicken that some here thought in a similar categegory, but I found it way too greasy and not anywhere near as flavorful as either Zuni or Marcella. Anyway, here's the discussion if you're interested:


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: JoanN
                          MMRuth RE: JoanN Jan 16, 2007 11:12 AM

                          Thanks Joan - I'll check out that thread. I'd perused through a number of the threads on Marcella's chicken and saw some intersections w/ the Zuni technique. Next time!

                        2. n
                          nance RE: MMRuth Jan 20, 2007 12:11 AM

                          All of this is making me wonder where can I find the Marcella recipe???

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: nance
                            Caitlin McGrath RE: nance Jan 20, 2007 03:22 AM

                            Copyright issues aside, this blog post has the recipe verbatim from the book, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking:

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