When you think of Cristina Ferrare, you don’t think about cooking. You probably think more about her modeling and acting career, or maybe her marriage to John De Lorean. But last year, I was introduced to her recipes through an appearance she made on Oprah. It turns out that Oprah goes to Cristina’s for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner every year, and when you think that Oprah can pretty much have dinner anywhere or with anyone, that says an awful lot about Cristina’s cooking. (I have since discovered she also has a cookbook as well.)
Her appearance was a little bit before we were in such a whirlwind of recession, economic downturn and budget-speak, but her recipes were perfect for a time of cutting back nonetheless. Cut back on the spending, but not the flavor. That’s a movement we can get behind. One of the recipes she made, and that Oprah raved about, was her Roast Chicken with her famous marinade. Consisting of only three ingredients, but strong flavored ones at that, you can have it in your oven in five minutes flat.
The recipe is for making two chickens, one to eat now, and one to make into something else for another night (check out her other recipes for the second chicken here). So for five minutes worth of work, you can get two flavorful main courses for under $15. How ya like them apples? Now personally, when it comes to playing with whole chickens, particularly raw ones at that, I tend to get a little squeamish. I hate cleaning them, emptying the cavity, even just seeing all the parts intact. But I hold my breath and do it as quick as I can.
Since the episode first aired, I’ve made this recipe a few times and when it hit the table again last week, I was reminded of how good it really is. With flavors like soy sauce and Dijon mustard, you can’t go wrong. The only change I make to the recipe is to stuff the inside of the chicken with onions, as well as the lemons called for. Add some roasted vegetables (like those maple ones we made recently) and dinner is done for under $10. Oh and how does it taste? It is hands down the juiciest chicken I have ever made, bar none. Don’t miss this one!
Recipe courtesy of Cristina Ferrare
- 2 chickens , 4-1/2 to 5 pounds each
- 6 lemons
- 1 onion, sliced into wedges
- A poultry mix of fresh herbs: Rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley and oregano work well
Marinade for one chicken:
- 1 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup juice from fresh lemon (don’t discard lemon rinds)
To make marinade: Place all ingredients in a nonreactive bowl. Whisk with a wire whisk until ingredients are incorporated well—the marinade should have a smooth and creamy consistency.
To make roasted chicken: Preheat oven to 425°.
Clean chickens well and pat dry. Place each chicken in its own baking dish.
Stuff cavities with lemon rinds (and onion) and fresh herbs. A poultry mix is fine, usually consisting of rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley and oregano.
Pour marinade over chicken. Add cracked pepper and remaining herbs to the top of each chicken.
Place an oven thermometer in each chicken and cover with aluminum foil. Place on the lower rack of the oven. Bake for 1-1/2 hours, then remove the aluminum foil. Baste with a basting bulb. Keep basting often, ever 15 minutes until the thermometer reads 180°.