Friday, February 12, 2010

Lemon Roasted Chicken

This simple roasted chicken using butter and plenty of lemon, has a bit of a reputation of garnering marriage proposals, enough so that it has been dubbed the engagement chicken.

Lemon Roasted Chicken

Legend has it, that the original "engagement chicken" first made its appearance almost 30 years ago now, when a Glamour magazine editor shared the recipe for a simple, roasted chicken with an assistant, who prepared it for her boyfriend one evening. A month later he proposed. While you can read more about the story here, all that aside, it's certainly a great recipe for a roasted chicken. There is just something so comforting about the smell of a chicken roasting, that it's one of my favorite methods of cooking chicken.

This is an adaptation of the original recipe and similar to my Oven Roasted Chicken/Turkey recipe but using a much smaller bird, skipping the brine, and made with extra lemon, no garlic, and starting off the chicken roasting breast down, then flipping it over to finish as usual. I didn't truss this one, though I do recommend it because it cooks better and quicker when it's trussed. Course, I love my oven roasted bird with the buttery pan sauce and a good garlic stuffed one is good too. Heck I just like a good roasted bird.

Though not necessary, handy tools to have when roasting a chicken are a good roasting pan with rack (I own that one) that will keep the chicken elevated and allow the air and flavor from the aromatics to circulate around the bird. Because all ovens vary and so will cooking time, an in-oven thermometer or at the very least, a basic instant read thermometer is really essential to me. This allows you to check instantly to see if the chicken is at the right temperature and know whether you need additional cooking time, rather than trying to make guesswork of it, and potentially under or over-cooking it.

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Recipe: Lemon Roasted Chicken

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 1 hour 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 (3 pound) whole roasting chicken
  • 5 lemons
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, softened to room temperature & divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups of chicken stock or broth (omit if not using a rack)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Squeeze the juice from 3 of the lemons; set aside and reserve the lemon rinds. Remove giblets and neck from the chicken and discard. Place chicken on a roasting rack in an oven roasting pan and pat it dry with paper towels. Smear all over with half of the butter, pour the freshly squeezed lemon juice in the cavity and all over the top of the chicken, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roll the remaining two lemons on the counter-top to loosen the juices. Carefully puncture the lemons several times with a knife and place them into the back of the cavity of the chicken. Stuff in the lemons you squeezed. Turn the bird upside down so that the breast is on the bottom and pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan. Omit the chicken broth if you are roasting the chicken without the rack.

Place the chicken into the oven, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 15 minutes. Remove, and using wooden spoons and a pair of tongs, carefully turn the chicken back over. Continue baking for 35 minutes longer, or until juices run clear and an instant read thermometer inserted in the thigh reads 175 to 180 degrees F.

Remove the chicken to a wooden cutting board that has a grooved ridge around the edges to reserve juices. Let rest before carving. See video below for carving tips.

While the chicken is resting, make a butter sauce with the pan drippings. Place the roasting pan over medium high heat and bring the juices to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any bits of stuck on yum-yums! Cook until the juices have reduced about half. Remove from the heat, stir in the remaining two tablespoons of butter and swirl around until blended in. Spoon sauce over the individual servings of the chicken.

Cook's Note: If you don't have a roasting pan with a rack,just bake the chicken in a regular roasting or baking pan, but omit the chicken broth. Time is based on the original directions, however, it can take up to 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours total cooking time at 350 degrees F, and potentially longer for even larger chickens. Always rely on an instant read thermometer to gauge when your chicken is done.

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken: Add a mixture of your favorite fresh or dried herbs - rosemary, thyme, parsley and sage are all good choices. Finely mince the herbs and mix with the butter that you rub over the chicken.


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©Deep South Dish
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Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

Garlic Roasted Chicken with Vegetables
Oven Roasted Hen with Buttery Pan Sauce
Roasted Balsamic Chicken Thighs

Here's a video guide on carving a cooked chicken which is pretty much how I also do it. One thing - if you have some difficulty at the joints and have a pair of kitchen shears, (which you should get if you don't), using those at the bone joints on both a raw chicken and cooked chicken makes for an easy job of cutting through bone joints.

Posted by on February 12, 2010
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