Splitting chickens allows them to cook faster. Here, we marinate them in a yogurt-based mixture flavored with citrus and ginger. Served with heaps of sauteed green onions and red lentils, this is a comforting, full-flavored dish.
2 (3 to 3 1/2 lb.) chickens, split in half
5 large carrots, peeled and quartered
2 large stalks celery, quartered
6 large garlic cloves, halved
3 large bay leaves
3 bunches green onions
, freshly ground, to taste
Creamy Red Lentils, for serving
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. grated lime zest
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. crumbled dried oregano
Rinse the chickens and pat dry.
To make the marinade: In a large bowl, whisk all the ingredients together. Add the chicken halves and turn to coat thoroughly. Use now, or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. Let chicken sit for about 30 minutes to reach cool room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a 12-by-18-inch roasting pan, layer the carrots, celery, and garlic in a single, compact layer. Top with the bay leaves.
Lift the chicken halves from the marinade without letting too much drip off. Lay the chicken on top of the vegetables, skin-side up. Pour the stock around the chicken. Roast for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown, the juices run clear, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh away from bone registers 180°F. Cover the wing tips with aluminum foil if they start to brown too much during roasting.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, and loosely cover with foil. Remove the vegetables from the roasting pan and cut into small dice. Add the vegetables to the lentils. Cut the green onions into 2-inch lengths, including the green parts. You will have about 4 loosely packed cups.
Strain the pan juices and discard any solids. Measure 3 tablespoons of the strained pan juices and heat them in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the green onions and sautée for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut the chicken into serving pieces. Serve the chicken over the lentils and scatter the green onions over all.