As one does while traipsing around Italy, I ate A LOT on vacation. I basically OD’ed on pizza and pasta and *gasp!* even wine, and on the plane ride home, seriously contemplated doing another full-on detox. But you know, there’s all those rules … and it is football (and football food!) season … and suddenly “detox” seemed a bit too extreme. I mean, we did a walk a lot in Rome and Florence, and some of our pizzas had vegetables on them. (I could convince myself out of anything.)
While perusing detox plans and recipes, I of course came across the ubiquitous Master Cleanse, an extremely weird, semi-spartan, Beyonce-approved detox in which humans attempt to subsist solely on a tonic of maple syrup, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and water for two weeks. It is completely crazy pants, and I would quickly end up in a hangry rage spiral if I attempted it.
But also popping up in my Google searches: this Master Cleanse chicken, which uses that maple syrup-cayenne pepper-lemon juice combination as a marinade for roast chicken. DING DING DING DING. I landed on Friday afternoon, had my chicken air-chilling in the fridge by Saturday morning, and roasted this bad boy while watching sweet, sweet football on Sunday afternoon. I told myself that the intoxicating aromas emanating from the oven were totally detoxifying, and you know what? I feel great! I’m eating spicy-sweet crisp-skinned chicken, full of antioxidants or polyphenols or whatever is supposed to be magical about this Master Cleanse.
Ishita 1, Detox 0.
Master Cleanse Chicken
Adapted from The Kitchn
– 1 3-pound whole chicken
– 1 lemon + 2 tablespoons lemon juice + 2 tablespoons lemon zest
– 2 tablespoons maple syrup
– 1 scant tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
– 1 tablespoon coarse salt
– 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1) Check the chicken for a packet of giblets. If there is one, remove it and discard or reserve for another use.
2) Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, inside and out, and put it on a plate. Place the chicken uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours, letting it air dry (so you get that nice crispy skin).
3) Preheat the oven to 425F. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and zest, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper.
4) Place the whole lemon in the cavity of the chicken, then secure the lemon by tying together the drumsticks with kitchen twine.
5) Brush three-quarters of the maple syrup mixture liberally over the chicken. Place the chicken breast-side down on your roasting pan (or in a cast-iron skillet)*, then roast for 30 minutes.
6) Flip the chicken in the roasting pan, then brush the remaining marinade over the chicken. Roast for an additional 25-30 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165F and juices run clear. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes before serving.
*I placed my chicken on a “carrot trivet” — I lined the bottom of the cast-iron skillet with a few whole carrots (cut a bit so that they fit in the pan) and then placed the chicken on top. This keeps the bottom of the chicken from steaming in the pan (again, you want that crispy skin!) and produces some delicious roasted carrots! (You could also do a “potato trivet,” a la this recipe from a few months ago.)