summer citrus chicken, say that a million times fast
Home Movies Tuesday!
Hello and welcome to Home Movies Tuesday! If you’ve found your way over by some miracle but are not yet subscribed, here, let me help you with that:
I hate to sound New York-centric, but unfortunately it’s where I live, so it’s the only place I can really speak to. Today, I’m speaking to the fact that the weather here in New York just simply is not it (surely other parts of the country/world can relate!): 96 degrees, 92% humidity, and the clouds break at the exact time you decide to stop work and attempt an outdoor kiki with your nearest and dearest. Nobody has clothes (or shoes) for that, and we all know umbrellas are a scam. The other day it was too hot to wear clothes, too wet to not, so I left the house in what could only be described as an embroidered bridal veil turned into a piece of clothing passable as a top (I got three compliments) which provided the ventilation I didn’t know I needed to ride through a torrential downpour on my CitiBike. Anyway!
We had planned to shoot this episode of Home Movies outside, on a grill (summer!). Unfortunately, that day presented us with 90+ degrees, skies so dark it felt like dusk all day, constant, heavy rain, and the LOUDEST THUNDER you can imagine, which triggers a childhood trauma I still carry deep in my bones (thank you in advance for overlooking the darkness, the incessant thunder and my bad mood).
So, as anyone would do, we pivoted and I did the chicken stovetop (which, if you really let it char on the skillet and finish cooking in the oven at a high temp, still gives you a result remarkably similar to the grill, charred wingtips and all). This might even be a more helpful video than if I had grilled, but don’t worry, we’ll be grilling soon. Regardless, instructions in the below recipe give you details for both grilling, skillet-ing, and simply roasting. Helpful is RIGHT.
DISCLAIMER: this recipe is basically the grilled chicken rested in citrus and herbs from Nothing Fancy, with a few modifications based on my mood that day (lol) so if it sounds familiar, that's because it is! See you next week! —AR
I have to come clean. I’m bored by chicken lately. I used to crave it all the time and one day I just… stopped. It’s not chicken’s fault, it’s mine. I got too comfortable—I kept making my same go-to recipes over and over and then I just got sick of chicken altogether. This is the recipe that got my love for chicken back on track, and for that I am grateful.
This chicken is simple but decidedly not boring—it’s one of the most flavorful things I’ve made recently, and it’s classic and easy enough to be a go-to, but fun enough to feel a little special. The marinade is so good, I low-key want to drink it. It’s tangy and punchy, just the right amount of spicy, a little bit sweet, and super savory. The chicken remains juicy, absorbs all that flavor, and the citrus juice helps the skin get extra caramelized. It’s what I want to serve at a summer dinner party because it’s visually beautiful, looks and tastes very summery and bright, and is uncomplicated but still a real show-stopper. I know my pickiest friends will love it, and my friends who love to cook will want the recipe. If I think about it far enough in advance (lol), I’ll marinate it the day before and feel a deep sense of accomplishment, knowing the most labor-intensive part (juicing citrus) is behind me, and I’m about thirty minutes away from perfect, juicy, chicken with deeply caramelized skin.
In this video you’ll learn how to best approximate the charred flavors you get from a grill by simply using a cast iron skillet, and there’s also a soothing citrus juicing montage, a citrus juicer effectiveness test, a very intense thunderstorm (we love that sweet, sweet New York summer), and a case for going to the market and letting ingredients speak to you.
The best part about this recipe is that it really takes advantage of all the best things about cooking chicken—its ability to soak up flavors, and its ability to get crispy and caramelized while remaining tender and juicy. The marinade should taste super intense because it’s flavoring everything, so don’t be afraid to take it there. The method is simple and versatile, and the flavor profile goes with almost anything. I like serving it over rice to soak up the sauce, with fresh herbs and thinly sliced vegetables alongside, and I also love it simply with a crunchy green salad. No matter how you serve it, it will be incredibly delicious, and I’m sure it will become a part of your rotation just as it has mine.
Now for the substitutions:
This recipe works great in a grill or skillet, and can also be simply roasted in the oven at 450°F, but grilling it or starting it on the stove will help those juices caramelize and get some nice char. For a very different but definitely amazing dish, you could also braise it in a shallow baking dish.
If you don’t want to halve the chicken, you can use a whole chicken or use bone-in, skin-on parts.
If you don’t have yuzu kosho, you can use sambal, a finely chopped jalapeño, tabasco, tapatio— any tangy, salty hot sauce of your choosing. Alternatively, omit the heat altogether.
You can keep it simple and just plate the chicken on citrus, or add herbs like cilantro stems, parsley, rosemary, thyme, or marjoram if they’re speaking to you.
If you don’t have fish sauce or Worcestershire, use soy sauce or maggi—you’re looking for something deeply savory and a little meaty.
Click HERE for a printable PDF.
charred citrus chicken
1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice (from 4–6 limes)
1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4–6 lemons), plus 1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh orange juice, plus 1 orange, thinly sliced, seeds removed
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more
2 tablespoons yuzu kosho or sambal, or 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 1⁄2- to 4-pound chicken, halved lengthwise through the backbone, or bone-in, skin-on parts
fresh herbs, such as cilantro stems, parsley, thyme, rosemary, or marjoram, for serving
1. To make the marinade, combine the lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, yuzu kosho, and garlic in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set about half aside for later, and add the rest of the marinade to a large bowl, resealable bag, or baking dish. Add the chicken, tossing to coat well. Let it sit in the marinade for a while (at least 30 minutes, but up to 2 days, in the refrigerator).
2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. (Alternatively, heat a grill to medium heat, with cooler coals or low flames on one side. You can grill the chicken over hotter flames, but it can be challenging to manage; for beginners, it’s good to err on the side of the coals being slightly cooler than slightly hotter.)
3. Remove the chicken from the marinade (discarding the marinade the chicken was sitting in). Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken skin-side down and cook for 5–7 minutes, until golden brown and chicken releases easily from the skillet. Flip the chicken and add a bit more of the marinade to the skillet.
4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 20–25 minutes. (Alternatively, place the chicken skin side down on the grill and cover; make sure the vents are open. Let it grill, resisting the urge to turn or check too frequently until it’s nicely golden brown with those cute little grill marks, 10 to 12 minutes; just like when you’re searing chicken in a skillet, the skin will release effortlessly once it’s cooked and golden. Attempting to move it beforehand will probably tear the skin and maybe ruin your day! Using your finest and largest tongs, carefully flip the chicken and cover so that it continues to grill and cook on the other side, another 10 to 12 minutes. Flip once more, skin side down, and add a few halves of cut citrus. Continue to grill another 5 to 8 minutes, to recrisp the skin and finish cooking through.)
5. Place the remaining citrus slices on a platter or cutting board and scatter with the herbs, if using. Place the cooked chicken on top, skin side up, and spoon some of the reserved marinade over. Let the chicken rest for 10 to 20 minutes, allowing its juices to mingle with the fresh citrus. Carve the chicken into pieces before serving.
DO AHEAD: Chicken can be cooked a few hours ahead, loosely covered with foil, and kept at room temperature. Serve either at room temperature or throw it back into a 425°F oven (or on the grill) for a quick reheat.