This is a great recipe from Ruth Reichl’s terrific book My Kitchen Year. You can quarter a whole chicken or use chicken pieces. This takes some preparation – for a same-day dinner, make the oil early in the day and marinate the chicken in the early afternoon. Or, even better, do it all the day before.
Avoiding Additives and Preservatives
Make sure the paprika does not contain colour or anti-caking ingredients.
1 chicken, quartered
2 large jalapeno chiles
2 serrano chiles
¾ cup (180 ml) plus 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
2 tbsp (30 ml) hot paprika
Make chile oil by chopping the jalapeno and serrano chiles, and putting them in a small saucepan with ¾ cup (180 ml) of olive oil. Add the hot paprika. Grind a fair amount of black pepper into the pot and steep over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Let it sit overnight (or all day). If you prefer not to make the oil, you can simply buy a bottle of chile oil.
Put a strainer over a large bowl and strain the chile oil. Slice a couple of lemons and add them to the bowl. Season with salt.
Place chicken in resealable bag and pour in the oil and lemon mixture. Move chicken around to make sure all pieces are coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (and up to a day).
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F (260 C). When the oven is ready, heat a cast iron skillet until it’s quite hot and smoking. Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the chile oil and pat it dry. Sprinkle it with salt and shower it with freshly ground pepper; you need a lot. Slick the bottom of the pan with olive oil and put the chicken, skin side down, in the hot skillet. Cook until the skin is crisp and golden, which should take 5-10 minutes. Turn the chicken over so it’s skin-side up.
Put the skillet in the preheated oven and roast about 30 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 170 degrees F (76 C) in the thickest part of the thigh.
Sprinkle with lemon juice, grind more pepper over the chicken and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4.
From My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl