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Richard Blais spices up a classic: Roasted chicken

When you're not sure on what to cook for dinner, roasted chicken never fails. But don't stick to the basic recipe, try something different. Here, Richard Blais, winner of “Top Chef: All-Stars,” shares his new twist on the classic by adding some lemon curd and some black pepper.

Lemon curd and black pepper roasted chicken
Servings:

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • The brine

    • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
    • 2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns (optional)
    • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
    • 8 cups water
    • Scant 1 cup Kosher salt
    • 1 fresh red Thai chile, sliced, or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • One 4- to 5-pound free-range chicken
  • Lemon curd

    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 1⁄3 cup sugar
    • Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
    • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
    • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or
    • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried
    • 1 tablespoon water

Preparation

Baking Directions:

To brine the chicken: Put the black peppercorns, Szechuan peppercorns, if using, and coriander seeds into a saucepan and toast over medium-low heat, swirling the pan, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the water and the salt, raise the heat to medium-high, and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 6 cups water and the chile. Let cool to room temperature. Rinse the chicken well under cold water. Transfer to a tall narrow plastic container just large enough to hold it. Pour the brine over the chicken and adjust the bird if necessary so it is completely immersed. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours, or preferably overnight. To make the lemon curd: Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and lemon zest and juice until combined. Put the pan over low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is very thick and hot, but just below a simmer, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter a little at a time until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, press the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a small bowl to remove the zest. Cover and let stand until cool or refrigerate if not using right away. Position a rack in a roasting pan. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels and set it on the rack in the pan. Let the chicken come to room temperature, 20 to 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Coarsely crush the black peppercorns and coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle or on a cutting board with the bottom of a small pan. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the rosemary and sage. Add three-quarters of the spice mixture to the lemon curd, along with the water, and stir to combine. Pat the chicken again with paper towels to make sure it is completely dry. Gently loosen the skin by sliding your fingers between the breast and skin and working them down to the thighs and drumsticks. Spoon half the lemon curd under the breast skin and use your hands to spread the curd evenly under the loosened skin all the way to the legs. With kitchen twine, tie the legs together tightly. Brush the remaining curd evenly over the surface of the chicken, coating the whole bird. Sprinkle the remaining spice mix evenly over the chicken. Return to the rack in the pan and pour 1 cup of water into the pan. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325°F and continue roasting until the chicken is golden brown and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced, 1 1/2to 1 3/4hours. Add water 1/2 cup at a time to the pan if it starts to dry out. Let the chicken stand for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Charred artichokes with smoky lemon aioli
Servings:

Serves 4

Ingredients

    • 4 large globe artichokes, stems trimmed
    • 1 cup Aioli or good-quality store-bought mayonnaise
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
    • 2 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1⁄2 teaspoon smoked sea salt
    • 1⁄4 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • Hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Crystal, to taste
    • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Set a steamer basket in a large saucepan or stock pot with a lid, fill with 1 inch of water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Set the artichokes stem end down in the basket, cover, and steam until a knife meets no resistance when piercing the stem of an artichoke, 20 to 25 minutes. Slice the artichokes in half lengthwise.Heat a well-oiled grill or cast-iron skillet. Place the artichokes in, cut side down, on the hot surface and let sit until they are slightly blackened. (Charred or just steamed, the artichokes can be served warm or slightly chilled.)Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the aioli, dill, capers, lemon zest and juice, sea salt, and paprika until well combined. Add the hot sauce and black pepper and stir.

Serving Directions:

To serve, arrange artichokes in four salad plates, and divide the aioli mixture among small bowls for dipping.

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