Photos by Lori Zachary.

Chicken goes chic

Well, we’ve made it through another holiday season relatively unscathed. I say relatively unscathed because while I didn’t gain my usual “winter padding,” I am a little fluffier than normal. So now it’s time to hit the gym and back away from the fudge, crab dip and meat pies that fueled my holiday overindulgences.

What’s great about this roasted chicken is that it’s light but still full of flavor. Garlic, saffron and rosemary give what could be dull chicken a luscious sophistication that is as great for guests as it is for a weeknight family meal. Saffron, with its distinctive, earthy flavor, pairs beautifully with the sharp garlic and piney rosemary. The addition of the spinach—or other baby greens—salad along with some creamy risotto and a crisp white wine make for a sublime meal with family or friends.

I’ve incorporated Meyer lemon and satsumas into this dish because that is what’s plentiful this time of the year, but regular lemon and orange would also work just fine.


Lori Zachary is a wife, mother of two grown daughters, and trained chef who is the author of the Little White Apron food blog.





Saffron Citrus Chickencuisine-1-17-chicken

1 (4 1⁄2- to 5-lb.) whole chicken
1 tsp. saffron
3 garlic cloves
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3 rosemary sprigs
2 small oranges or satsumas
2 Meyer lemons
Butcher’s twine for trussing (about 3 ft.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse chicken under cold water. Pat dry and set aside.
In the bowl of a mortar and pestle or a small food processor, combine saffron threads, garlic, salt and pepper. Grind into a coarse paste. Add leaves from 1 sprig of rosemary and grind to release oils.
Slice 1 orange and 1 lemon very thinly. Cut the other lemon and orange in quarters. Set aside.
Slide fingers under skin of chicken breast to create a pocket. Rub saffron mixture over and under skin. Place orange and lemon slices under skin at breast and legs, alternating orange and lemon. Place quartered orange and lemon, along with remaining rosemary, inside cavity. Season whole bird well with salt and pepper.
To truss chicken, tie legs together using middle of butcher’s twine and tuck wings under back. Bring twine toward neck going over thighs and wings. Pull tightly and tie in a knot at neck.
Place trussed chicken in a large cast-iron skillet or small roasting pan. Place on middle rack in preheated oven, and roast until browned and internal temperature is 165 degrees, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on size of bird. Turn occasionally to brown evenly. When done, remove from oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Spinach and Citrus Saladcuisine-1-17-salad

8 oz. baby spinach
1⁄2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
1⁄2 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
1⁄4 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 or 2 small oranges or satsumas, sectioned and seeded
3 Tbsp. feta or goat cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange or satsuma juice
1⁄3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine spinach, tomatoes, fennel, red onion, oranges or satsumas, and cheese in a large salad bowl. Set aside.
In a small jar, combine lemon and orange juices, olive oil, salt and pepper. Close jar and shake until well combined. Pour over salad and toss to coat just before serving.