And only second to the Zuni chicken...that's still tops for me. :-)
Marcella's chicken was really wonderful though, and the addition of lemons was a nice twist. Husband was impressed and gobbled up his fair share. See below for recipe that I used and photo of result. Why are my favorite home-cooked meals always in that color scheme?
Lemons kept the meat so moist and added a lovely citrus note. The white meat had not one fiber of dryness, and the dark meat was pinkly succulent. The skin wasn't ultra-crispy like Zuni's, but it was a deep golden color and very flavorful. I loved cutting into the lemons and squeezing them on the carved pieces. Just be careful since they're hot and are likely to squirt! Buy the smallest lemons you can find; otherwise one large one would be fine.
Recipe was very easy and no-nonsense, as a roast chicken method should be. I did incorporate some Zuni elements by pre-seasoning w/ S&P the night before and tucking a few sprigs of thyme under the skin. I also pre-heated the skillet (used this instead of traditional roasting pan). I do think these made a positive difference. I followed the temp. and time to a T though. It didn't take any longer for my 4 lb. bird.
I have to say that my side dishes bolstered this chicken too. Not the healthiest and probably didn't need both, but they were so tasty! The crispy caramelized potato rounds were better than I expected!! I sliced rounds (1/4-1/3" thick) from 2 russets and placed them around the chicken in the skillet, like a potato galette. The chicken had direct contact w/ the pan in the center. I seasoned the potatoes w/ S&P and a tiny bit of olive oil. I left them completely undisturbed during the roasting, and they were perfectly done in conjunction w/ the chicken. The bottom layer had an incredible dark caramel crust, and the potatoes had obviously absorbed some savory drippings. Tasted like potatoes fried in duck fat. Not good for me, but I just need a few to be happy.
The other side dish was braised cabbage. Diced a little bacon, rendered the fat and crisped. Removed bacon, drained out most fat, and then sauteed sliced onion and garlic. Added some fresh thyme and red pepper flakes. Deglazed w/ dry sherry. Added a head of sliced savoy cabbage a little at a time to slowly wilt. Returned crisped bacon. Seasoned w/ S&P. Covered and simmered gently during the time the chicken roasted. Added some water when it looked dry. So meltingly delicious...I could eat this everyday. Mildly sweet, salty, w/ a little pepper kick. Am really loving savoy cabbage...
I guess I could make healthier sides, but this is what I felt like making and eating. Blame it on the weather. I did have a glass of Tuscan red wine which was perfect to cut through the rich, hearty meal! That counts as healthy, right? Thanks to everyone who recommended Marcella's recipe; its reputation is deserved!