Cold chicken is delectable on a picnic. Herbes de Provence can be replaced with 2 tbsp (25 mL) very finely chopped mélange of herbs gathered from your garden such as thyme, basil, summer savoury, oregano and somewhat less of strongly flavoured lavender flowers and rosemary.
2 large chickens, cut into quarters or 4 bone-in breasts and 8 bone-in thighs
⅔ cup (150 mL) liquid honey
1 tbsp (15 mL) fine lemon zest
1 tbsp (15 mL) dried herbes de Provence
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped fresh parsley
2 lemons, each cut into 8 wedges
- Adjust rack above oven centre; preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Foil line a broiler pan bottom or similarly sized baking sheet with sides.
- Trim off and discard chicken skin (as it burns easily with honey and does not become crisp) and any loose fat. Lay chicken, bone-side down, slightly apart with breasts in pan corners and leg quarters or thighs in centre.
- Stir honey with zest; set aside 2 tbsp (25 mL) for end of roasting. Heat another 2 tbsp (25 mL) honey for 10 to 15 seconds in microwave to liquefy. Brush all over chicken tops; sprinkle with herbs. Liberally season with pinches of salt and grindings of black pepper.
- Bake chicken 15 minutes; baste with half of remaining honey mixture. Continue baking for another 15 minutes. Baste again with remaining half of honey mixture. Continue baking another 5 minutes or until richly browned, and breasts are cooked to nearly 170°F (75°C) on an instant-read thermometer.
- Remove chicken from juices into a baking tray. Using a clean brush (to avoid cross-contamination), slather chicken with reserved honey mixture. Sprinkle with parsley.
- Strain pan juices into a measuring cup; skim off and discard fat. Stir in about 1 tsp (5 mL) of lemon juice, about 1 wedge squeezed. Serve juices with chicken or cover and refrigerate if serving later. (Warm cold juices before serving.)
- Serve warm or cold chicken with juices and lemon wedges for guests to add to taste. (If planning on serving cold, cool chicken on tray on a rack. Refrigerate, covered or in heavy plastic bags, until ready to take to picnic, up to a day or 2 ahead.)
Serves 6 to 8