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Roasted Lemon Chicken Á La Niçoise

Niçoise is a classic French preparation that usually incorporates olives. The term means “prepared Nice style”, coming from Nice, France. Roasting chicken this way tenderizes the meat and infuses it with the fruity richness of olives.

Serves 4

Level of difficulty: moderate


3 1/2 - 4 pound roasting chicken
1 cup Niçoise or small green olives, pitted and divided
3 lemons cut into wedge, divided
1 rosemary sprig
1/2 cup dry white wine or water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced flat leaf parsley
2 anchovy filets, rinsed and minced
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 tbsp plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a shallow roasting pan with aluminum foil and place a roasting rack or small cookie rack inside. Rinse chicken well under cold, running water and pat dry with paper towels. Season the inside of the cavity with 1 tablespoon of salt and fill with half the olives, 4-5 lemon wedges, and the rosemary sprig.

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add the remaining olives, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, parsley, anchovies, ricotta and blend. Loosen the skin surrounding the breast meat with your fingers. Press the filling between the skin and the meat, smoothing the skin into place until all the filling is evenly distributed.

Truss or tie the chicken legs shut with a piece of cotton kitchen twine. Brush the skin with the remaining olive oil. Add the wine or water to the bottom of the roasting tray. Roast the chicken uncovered for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, until the meat reaches an internal temp of 170° F or until the meat surrounding the thigh joint is no longer pink.

Allow the chicken to rest 5 minutes before carving to redistribut the juices. Carve and serve with your favorite veggies. Leftovers are delicious when tossed in a salad for a quick lunch or casual dinner.

Jennifer specialized in cuisine that is healthy, creative and delicious. She’s an active contributor for food publications, like Yoga Life and several cookbooks, Jennifer is also the contributing chef for Self Magazine and Self Dishes.

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