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Salt Roasted Chicken Recipe - Pollo al Sale Grosso

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Chicken with Kosher Salt, or Pollo al Sale Grosso: Salt may seem like an unusual vessel for containing a bird in the oven, but it makes for tender juicy meat that's not too salty. Just right, in fact. In terms of bird size, you won't want a large chicken here, but rather one of the size suitable for spit roasting, in other words a bird weighing 2-3 pounds. If you want more, use two birds.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes


  • 1 whole chicken
  • An organically grown lemon
  • 10-15 peppercorns
  • 7 pounds (about 3 k) coarse kosher salt
  • A wooden skewer and a toothpick or two


Preheat your oven to 440 F (220 C)

Wash the chicken inside and out, and pat it dry. Wash the lemon, dry it, and prick the skin all over, pressing the peppercorns into the holes; they should stay in the lemon but not be pressed that far into it.

Slip the lemon into the cavity of the chicken. Use the skewer to seal the cavity, and the toothpicks to pull the skin over then neck whole and fasten it in place.

Take a casserole deep enough to contain the chicken and line the bottom with a 3/4 inch (2 cm) layer of salt. Lay the chicken on it and cover it to an even depth of 3/4 inch with as much of the remaining salt as necessary.

Roast the bird for 90 minutes. Crack away the salt crust, remove the bird, brush away any salt grains sticking to it, cut it up, and serve it.

The wine? A zesty red, for example an unoaked Barbera, a Valpolicella, or a Chianti d'Annata. In terms of accompaniments, perhaps string beans seasoned with butter and slivered walnuts.

My Response to Solochef:
Thanks so much for the advice. I have modified the instructions.
Kyle Phillips, Your Guide to Italian Cooking

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