Monday, March 14, 2011

Basic Recipe for Roasted Lemon Garlic Chicken

Roasting a chicken can be boring but it is one of those things that I think that everybody should learn how to do.  Mmmmm, why is it then that I haven't taught my husband?  You hear that baby, you need to learn how to roast a chicken!  It's just one of those simple kitchen tasks that is good to have in your files because well, it's simple and it's cheap, and the leftovers can be used so many ways.

As silly as it sounds it has taken my quite a while to learn how to perfect this task.  At first I never gave myself enough time and an hour into cooking at 7:30 on a Sunday night I was getting pissed because that damn bird was still pink inside.  I'm an apologetic cook when dinner is late but I think that is mostly because I get cranky when I don't eat and I'm mostly sorry for myself.  My friend Diane still reminds me of the time that we went out to breakfast years ago and I had a tantrum in the Ihop parking lot because the wait was too long on a Sunday morning and I was hungry NOW.  So there you have it I'm cranky when I don't eat.  Kind of like those snickers commercials where various hungry men turn into divas like Aretha Franklin until they have a snickers bar.  A chicken requires longer than an hour to cook people. That's just the way it is.  I give myself at least an hour and a half plus resting time which is a pretty new concept for me.

Chicken on it's own isn't very flavorful which is the beauty of it for me.  It transforms into so many different things depending on how you are cooking it but even so roasted chicken can still be just so meh.  I use lots of lemon and garlic, and herbs, and to top it off glorious olive oil for an awesome color.  I've been known to put too much lemon in my chicken.  I'm actually not sure how that's possible but according to my teenage son it is so I try to hold myself back.  Here's is my simple method that you may or may not have seen dozens of other places on the web:

1 whole chicken, washed and patted dry
1-2 lemons, sliced
6-8 cloves garlic, smashed with a knife
salt
pepper
parsley
rosemary
thyme
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the chicken in a baking dish. Lift the skin above the breast and loosen.  Ligthly salt and pepper 2 slices of lemon and place under the skin over each breast.  Wiggle in 2 smashed garlic cloves.  

Place remaining lemon slices and garlic cloves in the cavity of the chicken.  Salt and pepper.

I rarely use fresh herbs but you definitely can.  Just snip fresh herbs or place dried herbs in your hand to crush.  Place some herbs inside the cavity of the chicken.  It's difficult to wrestle with the skin/breast portion of the chicken but give it a try and stick some herbs in there as well.  Now rub herbs all around the outside of the chicken.  Cover the entire chicken with olive oil and rub in to coat.

Now settle the chicken breast side down in your baking dish and place in the oven.  I start checking the chicken at about 1 1/2 hours and that is generally long enough but if your chicken is larger it may take longer.  To check for doneness I use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the breast meat.

Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.


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