Amanda Freitag's Lemon Chicken
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Brining this lemon chicken seasons it down to the bone, and helps keep the flesh juicy while it cooks. If making chicken crackling is not your thing, simply use two bone-in breasts and two bone-in thighs.
- 1 pound lemons (about 4 large), halved
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 3½–4-pound chicken, quartered
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 2 pounds small carrots, scrubbed
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Bring lemons, onion, parsley, garlic, bay leaf, salt, sugar, peppercorns and 4 cups water to a boil in a large heavy pot, stirring occasionally until salt and sugar are dissolved. Let cool, then add 2 cups ice to brine; stir until melted.
Cut wings from chicken breasts. Cut through leg joint to separate thighs and drumsticks; set thighs aside. Use a sharp knife to score chicken skin along the length of each drumstick (this will make it easier to remove it in one piece). Remove skin from drumsticks; set skin aside (reserve drumsticks and wings for making stock). Place breasts and thighs in brine. Chill at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 425°. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Cook lemons, cut side down, until charred, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Remove chicken from brine. Rinse, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet, skin side down. Cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Turn and cook 4 minutes longer. Transfer to oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh registers 165°, 12–15 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss carrots with 2 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and roast, tossing halfway through, until browned and tender, 15–20 minutes; keep warm.
Cook chicken skin, fat side down (the side that was closest to the flesh), in a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat, pressing down to flatten and help skin make contact with the pan, until golden brown and crisp, 5–7 minutes. Turn and cook until other side is brown and crisp, 5–7 minutes. Drain on paper towels; season chicken crackling with salt.
Transfer roasted chicken breast and thighs to a cutting board. Bring broth and lemon juice to a boil in skillet, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, and cook until liquid is reduced by half, 6–8 minutes; season pan sauce with salt and pepper.
Stir ricotta, lemon zest, and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Serve chicken with carrots and a spoonful of lemon ricotta, drizzled with pan sauce, with crackling and charred lemons alongside.