Szechuan Pepper Roasted Whole Chicken
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL COOKING TIME: 60 inutes
INGREDIENTS - ROAST CHICKEN
- 1 x 3 lb whole chicken, clean, pad dry, cool to room temperature
- 1/2 sweet onion, peeled, halved lengthwise
- 1/2 lemon, halved lengthwise
- 1/2 fennel bulb, halved lengthwise
- 4 sprigs Thai basil
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp Szechuan pepper mix
- 4 tbsp lemon salt
- 2 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
- 1 1/2 tbsp Szechuan peppercorn, crushed
- 3 lemons (Meyer), zest
- 3 tbsp salt (Maldon)
- To make lemon salt, zest Meyer lemons into a mortar and pestle and add Maldon salt. Crush the zest and salt together until fragrant and broken down. For long-term cooking, store in an airtight container, in a plastic or ceramic container wrapped tightly with plastic wrap, or a zip-lock bag in a cool, dry place for up to two weeks.
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Stand the chicken neck side down on a sheet tray with the legs upwards and facing you. Season the cavity of the chicken with 1 to 2 tbsp of lemon salt. Stuff the onion, lemon, and fennel wedges into the cavity so that the carcass will hold a nice rounded shape and not collapse while roasting. Stuff the Thai basil bunch last, into the center of the cavity with the leaves facing outward.
- Whisk the egg yolks together to make an egg wash. Brush the chicken liberally with the egg wash over any visible part of the chicken skin, minus the backside of the chicken. This will act as a glue for the seasoning to stick.
- Sprinkle 3 tbsp of Szechuan pepper mix and 4 tbsp lemon salt over every inch of the chicken. Be sure to spread open the wings and legs and rub seasoning in all the crevasses to ensure maximum flavor in the meat and drippings.
- Use a 2-foot piece of butchers twine to truss the chicken. Wrap the twine around the body lengthwise so the middle section of the twine is at the neck area and each side of the twine is touching the wings and the thighs (under the drumstick). Bring the twine ends together and cross. Tighten the twine and pull the rest of the twine over the ankles. Wrap each side of the twine around the ankles to bring the legs close to the body. Tighten the twine and wrap around the ankles once again, moving outward, to make the ankles touch each other and finish by tying the twine ends together into a bow. Make sure the twine is holding the wings and legs in place tight enough to ensure a plump shape for the chicken during roasting.
- Place a wire rack between the chicken and the sheet tray to ensure that even the bottom of the chicken skin gets crisp. Roast in the center rack of the oven for 60 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the leg joint area reaches 165 degrees. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before carving chicken to serve.