Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Roasted Lemon & Herb Chicken

Roasted chicken is one of my favorite things to do for a simple dinner party. Roasting a whole chicken is really easy but looks impressive. It also looks like you have spent a lot of time when in all actuality the oven is the only one that put in the time.

Ryan often puts the chicken on the rotisserie of the BBQ during the summer and we have that often for dinner. When it is just the two of us we can usually get a few meals out of one bird. After dinner I will strip the rest of the meat off and usually make some sort of chicken salad for lunch. I then take the picked-clean bird, add some vegetables and herbs and boil it to make some good stock for use in a future soup.


1 4-5 pound free-range chicken
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 handful fresh rosemary
1 handful fresh thyme
2 tables spoons butter
olive oil


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside and out, then pat it dry with paper towels. Season the cavity with salt and pepper.

Zest one of the lemons and reserve the zest. Pierce a couple of holes in the zested lemon and then stuff the lemon, garlic, and a half of the herbs inside. Place the chicken, breast-side up, in a roasting pan.

Finely chop the reaming rosemary and thyme (about 2-3 tables spoons each). In a small bowl, add the chopped herbs, reserved lemon zest, butter, salt and pepper. Mix together until well combined.

Gently separate the skin from the meat of the breast and top of drumsticks. Take the herb-butter mixture and smear it in the pocket made between the skin and meat.

Take the remaining lemon and cut 6, 1/4 slices. Place the 4 lemon slices in between the skin and the breast meat and 1 slice in the pocket of each drumstick where the herb-butter mixture was spread.

Fold the wings under and tie the legs of the chicken together with kitchen twine to help hold its shape. Season the whole thing with a fair amount of salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Roast the chicken for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer says 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (the legs of the chicken should wiggle easily from the sockets too.) Remove the chicken to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes, so the juices settle back into the meat before carving. You can deglaze the pan and make a sauce if you like but I usually just remove the lemon and squeeze it over the meat.

Recipe by me.

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