Roasted Herbed Lemon Chicken

Growing up, my family would often have roasted chicken on Sundays. My mother stuck to roasted chicken because its a beautiful, simple, and delicious dish for a semi-fancy Sunday lunch (quite Southern of us). Some of my favorite memories are of my Dad slicing a chicken. While he methodically took his time, I would sit on the cabinet squirming with anticipation. He would eventually give in with a smirk and hand me a wing.

Perfectly roasted chicken is a culinary wonder. Crispy skin, tender meat, and ooohhhh the pan drippings. After the chicken has been sliced, you can find me standing over the roasting pan with bread, quietly gobbling up the drippings. Its packed with intense chicken flavor and scrumptious seasonings. Nothing can compare to that make shift sauce.

However, I will admit if you have never cooked with one, that entire chicken can be a bit intimidating. With good reason! If not prepared with right techniques, it can be difficult to roast a flavorful and throughly cooked bird.

1. Make sure the chicken is completely defrosted. When chickens reach most grocery store shelves, they have been frozen. A whole chicken takes a considerable amount of time too defrost. (In fact, the chicken in these pictures took a total of 2 days to defrost in the refrigerator.) How do you make sure the chicken is fully defrosted? Stick your hand inside and feel all around for ice and frozen meat. (A bit brass, but effective non the less.)

2. While your hand is inside the bird, make sure there aren't any extra goodies. Gizzards, hearts, livers, and necks are sometimes stuffed back inside during processing.

2. The chicken need to be rinsed and dried off. Don't worry! We will add moisture back to the chicken that is much more appealing than slimy juices.

3. To achieve chicken that has seasoning past the skin, it needs to be separated from the meat and the seasonings need to be massage in. (On to the meat and on skin, double whammy.)

4. Speaking of seasonings, a plethora of intense flavors need to be used. There is quite a bit of meat and surface area to cover! Especially because of the skin separation trick and seasoning the cavity.

5. Stuff that bird. Using ingredient leftovers is an effective way to give the chicken flavor from the inside out.

6. The oven temperature need to be high. 425 high. This will lock in moisture while having the power to cook the middle of the chicken to an edible temperature.

7. I highly, HIGHLY recommend having a meat thermometer. About 30 minutes into roasting, the outside of the chicken will appear to be done, but the inside will definitely not be cooked. A meat thermometer is an easy and way to make sure the chicken is done before you cut into it and have to put it back in the oven. (The kitchen walk of shame.)

8. Let the chicken rest. Don't go cutting into the chicken right after it comes out of the oven. It need will need 5 to 10 minutes (or as long as you can take) to settle. Besides, it will be too hot to handle anyway. Save your fingertips.

Thats it! See? Not so scary!! Straitfoward steps to bring a foolproof roasted chicken to your dinner table.

This Herbed Lemon Chicken is one of my go to meals when guests are coming over. I usually have all of these ingredients on hand because I have a patio herb garden. It also goes into the oven for approximately and hour, giving you time to clean up and prepare for guests. The real prize is the chicken itself. Aromatic herbs blended with the brightness of lemon are phenomenal with the meaty rich flavors of a roasted chicken.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Roasted Herbed Lemon Chicken

Roasts at 425

Yields 6 servings

Time to prepare is 3 hours

1 whole broiler chicken, approximately 3-4 pounds

2 tablespoons of salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon

4 lemons, juiced and zested, about 8 tablespoons of juice and 4 tablespoons of zest, save 2 of the rinds

1/4 cup of roughly chopped fresh parsley, and a few extra sprigs

2 tablespoons of roughly chopped fresh chives, and a few extra sprigs

1 tablespoon of roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves, and a few extra sprigs

2 teaspoons of black pepper

3 tablespoons of minced garlic, roughly 5-6 cloves

1 Vidalia onion, half diced and half quartered

1/4 cup of olive oil

Parchment paper

Roasting twine

Aluminium foil

Meat thermometer

Three hours before the meal, take the chicken and rinse the inside and outside throughly. While doing so, make sure the inside of the chicken is throughly defrosted. Pat it dry with paper towels and place it inside of deep dish. Take 2 tablespoons of salt and begin to massage it onto the outside of chicken. Then carefully start to massage under the skin, beginning at the bottom of the breast. Work down to the thighs, back, and drum sticks. When all of the chicken is salted, set it out of the refrigerator for an hour and a half.

Preheat the oven to 425.

After the chicken has dry brined, in a medium sized bowl combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, herbs, extra salt, pepper, garlic, roughly chopped onion, and olive oil. Mix throughly to make a paste. Set to the side.

Line a deep casserole dish or roasting pan with parchment paper.

Take the chicken and rinse it again, getting all of the salt off. Pat it dry.

Lay the chicken in the lined pan and begin to massage in the herb paste. Start on the outside of the chicken, then massage it under the skin and into the cavity. Stuff the cavity of the bird with the lemon rinds, extra herb sprigs, and quartered onion. Turn the chicken breast side up. Then tie the bottoms of the drumsticks together, arranging the thighs close together.

Place the chicken in the oven. After 30 minutes, use the aluminum foil to carefully cover the top of the chicken. Don't seal the chicken in the pan, cover and press the foil over the entire browned top of the chicken.

50 minutes into roasting, check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer. (At the thickest part of the breast or through the chicken thigh crease.) The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165-170 degrees.

Check on the chicken every 7 minutes. (This chicken weighed 3.6 pounds and took exactly one hour to roast.) Take the chicken out of the oven and and let it rest 5-10 minutes with the aluminum foil removed.

Slice the chicken and ladle some of the pan drippings over the meat.

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