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Herb-Roasted Chicken with Lemons

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Serves four.

I roast this chicken with lemon wedges, which prop up the chicken in the pan and also add a wonderful flavor to the pan juices. After roasting, the wedges develop a bitterness that isn’t for everyone, but if, like me, you appreciate that bitter note, go ahead and serve the lemons alongside the chicken as a garnish.

  • 2 large lemons
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 4-1/2-lb. chicken (if there are giblets, save for another use)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large thyme sprig
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sweet vermouth
  • 1 cup homemade or low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

Heat the oven to 425°F.

Cut the lemons in half crosswise and squeeze 2 Tbs. juice from one half; set the juice aside in a dish. Reserve the squeezed half for the chicken cavity. Cut each of the 3 remaining halves in half again for a total of 6 pieces.

Coat the bottom of a small flameproof roasting pan with the oil.

Wash and pat the chicken dry. Remove any excess fat. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper.

Put the squeezed lemon half inside the chicken along with the thyme, rosemary, and garlic cloves. Truss the bird by crossing the legs and tying them lightly with string and tucking the wings behind the back.

Brush the chicken all over with the melted butter. Sprinkle with herbes de Provence. Set the chicken on its side in the roasting pan, using the 6 lemon pieces, flesh side down, to support it.

Roast the chicken for 20 min., and then turn the bird on its other side, turning the lemon pieces as well to their other flesh side. Roast for another 20 min. Turn the bird on its back and turn the lemons skin side down. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Add 1/4 cup of the vermouth to the pan, stir to mix with the pan juices, and then baste the chicken. Roast the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 170°F, about 40 min. more.

Transfer the chicken to a carving board, placing the chicken breast side down. Tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 to 15 min.

Discard the roasted lemons. Tip the roasting pan and spoon out and discard as much fat as you can, leaving behind the juices. Set the pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and reduce to 2/3 cup, about 3 min.

Mix the cornstarch and 1 Tbs. of the reserved lemon juice in a dish. Whisk this into the pan mixture. Return to a boil for about two minutes to thicken, and then remove the pan from the heat.

Remove the trussing string from the legs and carve the chicken. (Discard the herbs, lemon, and garlic from the cavity.) Add any juices from the chicken to the sauce. Taste the sauce, and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and the remaining lemon juice and vermouth. The balance of flavors will depend on the acidity of the lemons and your taste. Serve the chicken with the sauce.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 700; Fat (g): fat g 42; Fat Calories (kcal): 380; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 13; Protein (g): protein g 68; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 4; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 8; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 500; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 230; Fiber (g): fiber g 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Made this for dinner last night and it was SO good. I brined the bird for an hour and a half before following the herb-roasted recipe. The chicken turned out seriously delicious. I will definitely make this again and again. Brine recipe (from ruhlman.com): 15 ounces water (or 1/2 liter) 3 ounces salt (or 100 grams) fresh herbs (I used sage above) 4 cloves garlic 1 small onion sliced 1 lemon halved 2 bay leaves 2 teaspoons black peppercorns, cracked beneath a saute pan 15 ounces ice (500 grams ice), or 15 ounces of ice water 1 chicken (3 to 4 pounds) Combine all of the above except the ice and chicken in a small pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and remove from the heat and let sit for ten minutes. Put the ice (or ice water) in a bowl or large measuring cup. Pour the herb brine over the ice. Stir till the ice is dissolved. Put the chicken in a plastic bag, pour the brine in, seal the bag, and let sit at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.

I chose this recipe after reading the reviews and while I found this to be a good recipe, I didn't find it to be exceptional. The herbs scorched on the bottom of the pan - we do not use non-stick pans for health reasons, so the glass pan didn't work as well. It was good, just not great.

Delicious chicken flavor and wonderful gravey.

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