Yes, you read that right. Chicken IN a watermelon. And sure, it doesn’t look as appetizing as the watermelon steak I wrote about last month, but it’s watermelon and chicken: two of my favorite summertime foods. A whole roasted chicken cooked inside a sweet watermelon. Who can deny that?
The whole chicken is stuffed inside a hollowed-out watermelon (save those pieces for dessert – if you can last five whole hours without eating it!) and mixed with a five-spice powder. There isn’t much watermelon taste, but you do get a hint of sweetness. The best part is how juicy and tender the watermelon makes the chicken. I could pull it apart with my fingers. Now that’s finger-licking good!
CHICKEN IN A WATERMELON
1 very large watermelon
1 roaster chicken, about 5 to 6 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
2 tablespoons chilled butter
1. Cut a 1/4-inch-thick horizontal slice off bottom of watermelon, so it won’t roll. Discard. Cut off the top third of the melon horizontally, then scoop out seeds and enough of the pulp from both remain parts to make room for the chicken.
2. Season cavity of chicken with salt and pepper. Insert lemon pricked with fork, along with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce. Brush outside of chicken with remaining soy sauce, and sprinkle with five-spice powder,
3. Place chicken in the larger part of the melon and position the other piece of melon on top, securing with long skewers.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake 2 hours. Then reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake 2 1/2 hours longer.
5. Place watermelon on a tray and show it to guests. Return it to kitchen: remove chicken and carve. With a ladle, remove juices from watermelon and reduce in skillet until thickened; whisk in cold butter and spoon over chicken before serving.
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