Lemon Rosemary Balsamic Chicken with Pan Sauce

Serves four

2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt
5 large cloves garlic, peeled

2 teaspoons packed finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh   rosemary
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Marinate the chicken pieces for 6 to 24 hours.

Wash and dry the chicken pieces thoroughly. Press down on the chicken breasts with the palm of your hand to flatten slightly (allowing rib cartilage to pop away or break in halo. With a sharp knife, poke three or four slits in both sides of each piece of chicken to help the marinade penetrate. Put the chicken in a large nonreactive bowl. Toss with kosher salt (use 1 1/2 teaspoons). Crush the garlic cloves, sprinkle with a little salt, and mince finely into a paste; you should have 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons. Add to the chicken and coat the pieces roughly with the garlic paste.

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Scrape into the bowl of chicken and toss to coat and then press on the chicken to be sure the marinade has coated and surrounded all the pieces. Wrap the bowl well with plastic and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.

  1. Up to an hour ahead, remove Marinade the chicken from the refrigerator to take off the chill.

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and pour the chicken and marinade (scraping the bowl) into one 10×15-inch or two 7xl1-inch Pyrex baking dishes. Adjust the chicken so it is skin side up and the pieces are evenly spaced. Sprinkle each piece of chicken with a pinch of salt. Let the chicken sit for at least 20 minutes or up to an hour to warm up a bit so it will cook more evenly. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400’F.

  1. Roast the chicken for an hour, basting two or three times.

Put the chicken in the oven to roast. As it cooks, the marinade will bubble and begin to reduce. After 30 minutes, baste occasionally with the pan juices to help brown the skin and keep the chicken moist. The chicken is done when it turns deep brown and the pan juices have reduced (the sides of the pan will be very dark brown and look almost burned, and a paring knife will slide easily into a thigh), about 1 hour. The pan juices may separate, meaning the fat will be floating on top of the juices, which will be very thick.

  1. Make a sauce with from the flavorful pan drippings.

Transfer the chicken pieces to a cutting board and tent with foil.

Hold one end of the pan with a potholder and gently tilt the pan to let the juices run into one corner. With a large shallow spoon, spoon off as much fat as possible but leave any savory juices and pan drippings behind (they may look clumpy).   Add 2 tablespoons water to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape off enough of the baked-on pan drippings from the sides and bottom of the pan to form a slightly thickened, deeply colored, rich-looking sauce (you won’t need to scrape the whole pan). Taste the sauce – if it’s too intense, add a little more water; if it isn’t flavorful enough, keep scraping and stirring. (Note: Make the sauce while the pan is still hot, if you get delayed, use hot water or put the pan back in the oven briefly to warm.

  1. Serve one thigh and half of a breast, dazzled with pan sauce, over potatoes, rice, or pasta.

Cut each chicken breast in half by centering a large chef’s knife over it and then pushing down and slicing at the same time (the knife will cut right through the cartilage). Serve a thigh and half of a breast, with a few spoonfuls of sauce over all and a portion of the extras, to each diner.

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