Oh sh*t. The Battle of Winterfell. The Long Night. It happened.
And boy did it deliver. The night was indeed dark and full of terrors. My watch party screamed and shouted and buried our faces into pillows, we drank beer and wine with shaking hands, and anxiously devoured an entire platter full of lemon cakes (yes, I made them again– they’re that good).
I can’t talk about the details yet; not only am I still processing, but I don’t want to spoil the episode for someone who is desperately trying to catch up before the finale! But what I can talk about is the food we ate in preparation, when life was joyous and full of light. So let’s just jump straight to that.
Also, I should shout this from the mountaintops daily, but I am ETERNALLY GRATEFUL for all the help my mom and dad give me with these recipes. I’m a baker, not a cook, and I’ve got a lot left to learn. They’ve been enormously helpful and supportive during this project, and I love them dearly. My dad especially came in clutch this week because I had no idea how to properly carve a bird without shredding it beyond recognition. You da real MVP, Dad!
This is a SUPER easy recipe, and it makes for the most delicious, simple chicken in the history of the world. Not only will your kitchen smell amazing, but the chicken is perfectly crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. I could have made a bangin’ gravy out of the pan drippings, but I ran out of time! When you’re plating a meal at 7:35pm and your show is on at 8:00pm, gravy be damned.
3-4lb Whole Chicken
One Lemon, Halved
One Head Garlic, Halved
1/2 Stick of UNSALTED Butter, Melted
1. Preheat your oven to 425° and pull out the biggest skillet you have. I used a gigantic cast iron for ~aesthetic~, but also because my bird was almost 6lbs. I had six people to feed and couldn’t find two smaller birds, so I went with one large. I doubled the rest of my ingredients to fit the bigger bird.
2. Cut off/pull out the ugly bits and then give it a good pat down with a paper towel. You want the skin as dry as you can get it. Don’t forget to get between the wings/breast and between the legs/breast. A drier skin will make a crispier skin when it comes out!
3. Taking a very very sharp knife, cut the skin between the thigh and breast to expose the leg joint. This will help it cook more evenly and make it easier to check the meat’s internal temperature.
4. Season the hell out of it with kosher salt and black pepper, inside and out. I used a good 5-6 “four-finger pinches” of salt and cranked my pepper grinder over everything before rubbing it down and getting the mix into all the nooks and crannies.
5. Pop it into the skillet, breast side up. Halve the lemon and garlic, discarding visible lemon seeds and extra flaky garlic skin, and lay the halves cut-sides-down around the bird. Pour the melted butter all over the bird and try not to drool.
6. Into the oven it goes. Check the temp after 45min, increasing by 15 minutes as needed until the thickest part of the thigh reads 160*F. When the juices run clear, your bird is ready.
7. Let it rest for 15 minutes before you start carving.
LEMON PARM BROCCOLI
To complement the no-fuss nature of the main course, I wanted a simple side that I could throw together while my chicken was resting and not leave a million clean-up dishes in the sink. I thought about steaming asparagus, I thought about a fresh green salad, I thought about peas or corn on the stovetop. But then I stumbled across a recipe for Lemon Parm Broccoli and the decision was made. The lemon finish was the perfect pairing to the lightly lemony garlic chicken, and the broiled parmesan was the right amount of savory. The recipe took 18 minutes, start to finish, and was a one-pan job. Total winner in my book.
24oz Frozen Broccoli Florets
2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan
1 tbsp Kosher Salt
Black Pepper (to taste)
Squeeze of Lemon
1. Arrange two racks in your oven, one in the middle and one at the top. Lay a walled baking sheet on the middle rack and preheat your oven to 425*F. That pan is going to be hot-hot-hot so be careful when you move on to the next step.
2. When your oven is ready, toss the frozen broccoli with the olive oil, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Immediately (and carefully) remove the hot pan from the oven and spread the broccoli in an even layer. It’s going to sizzle and steam. Pop it back into the oven on the middle rack and let it cook for about 15-17 minutes, or until the broccoli starts to brown at the edges and is tender.
3. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the shredded parmesan over the top. Set your oven to broil, and put the pan on the top rack. Broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Be careful to not over-brown your broccoli.
4. Remove from the oven and squeeze lemon over the pan, then serve immediately.
THE FINAL SCORE
Chicken: 4.5/5 Ravens
— This could have been chef error, but I destroyed that beautiful crispy skin as I carved, and I really wanted to get some of the salty goodness on my plate. Unfortunately, it was mangled and got soggy before I could plate it. The meat, however, was flawless.
Broccoli: 5/5 Ravens
— I really enjoyed how simple and tasty this was. It’s something I’ll add to my weeknight dinner rotation because it seems very versatile. Plus it’s cheap!