Master Cleanse Roast Chicken

1 (3-pound) chicken
1 small whole lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon coarse salt

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, inside and out, and put it on a plate. Slice the lemon in half and place it inside the cavity. Fold under the wings and tie up the legs either with kitchen twine or by slicing a slit in each side of the fat around the neck and inserting the end of the drumsticks in the opposite side.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, maple syrup, lemon zest and cayenne pepper.

Place the chicken in a gallon-size zippered plastic bag. Pour the lemon mixture all over the chicken. Sprinkle it evenly with salt. Seal the bag with as little extra air as possible. Refrigerate for 24-48 hours.

Remove the chicken from the bag and keep the remaining marinade. Roast the chicken your preferred way, or my favorite way, from the Zuni Café Cookbook, below.

Preheat the oven to 475°F and put in a heavy cast iron skillet. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and pat it dry again.

When the oven is fully heated, place the chicken breast-side up in the skillet. Roast for about 25 minutes, or until it is getting golden, then flip it over. If it browns deeply, turn the heat down to 400° and tent lighting with foil. Roast for another 15 minutes, then flip it again and baste with the remaining marinade, then cook to re-crisp for about 10 minutes. When you flip it the second time put a meat thermometer in the meatiest part of the thigh and check the temperature. When it reaches 165°F and the juices run clear, it is ready. Remove the chicken immediately and tent it with foil. Let it rest at least half an hour before serving.

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