Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry


Lemon roasted chicken

  • 24th Sep, 2006 at 9:34 PM

Roast chicken
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

I don't often go to potluck dinners because people don't often host them. But I'm happy to show up with the main course whenever I'm invited.

I had a nice time at le_maistre_e's place last night, even though I could barely catch up with any of the conversation. Instead, I faded in and out of consciousness on the sofa, sipping a mug of after-dinner coffee.

I had brought a roasted chicken, because I was exceptionally lazy. Chicken is one of the easiest roasts and basically takes care of itself if you treat it right. And with this recipe, you will get one of the most fragrant roasted chickens you've ever tasted. The secret is in keeping the chicken moist.

Lemon roasted chicken


  • 1 chicken
  • 5L water
  • 250mL salt
  • 250mL sugar
  • 50mL dark soya sauce
  • 50mL butter, room temperature
  • 4 stalks rosemary
  • 15mL paprika
  • black pepper
  • lemon
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 15mL cornflour


  1. Get your chicken and wash it out with cold water. Your chicken is probably trussed up, so get its legs out from under the twine so you can get at the cavity. You will want to wash inside the cavity, getting out as much blood and guts as possible.
  2. If there's still a bit of neck attached, twist it off. You may have to bend it back and forth a few times, but soon enough it will snap. Then, remove the wishbone for simple carving.
  3. Add the water to a big pot, big enough such that the chicken can fit comfortably inside. Dissolve the salt and sugar in before adding the soya sauce. Dunk the chicken inside so that the liquid gets into the cavity. The whole point of this brining is to moisten the chicken breast. Leave it covered, in the refrigerator, for at least an hour. Two hours is better, overnight is excellent.
  4. You can prepare your roasting tin at this point in time. Cut your carrots and red onion into healthy chunks. Peel most of the paper off the head of garlic, but don't break it apart. Arrange your roasting tin so that the garlic is in the centre and the vegetables surround it.
  5. Now we can make the butter. Rip the leaves off the rosemary stalks and bruise them a bit with the flat of your knife.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the butter, rosemary, and paprika. Add a pinch of salt and a good long grind of black pepper. Grate the zest of your lemon into it and combine.
  7. When the chicken is done brining, fish it out and pat it very dry. If it's wet, the butter won't stick.
  8. Get your fingers under the skin of the breast and stretch it out. Then, rub some of the butter into the underside of the skin. Rub butter into the cavity, and then massage the rest of the butter all over the chicken. Pamper it!
  9. Cut the lemon in half, you only need half of it. Poke a few holes in the skin and then stuff that half into the cavity. This will steam and perfume your chicken from within.
  10. If you have a V-shaped roasting rack, then great! Remove the butcher's twine completely and set the rack with the chicken over the vegetables in your tin. If not, get the legs back into the twine and set the bird directly atop the vegetables.
  11. Set the tin in a preheated oven at 220°C for about 15 to 20 minutes, so that skin starts to brown. Then, lower the temperature to 200°C for another 15 to 20 minutes per 500g. Longer if your oven lies to you, but you should really invest in an oven thermometer. Do not be tempted to baste the chicken or open the oven door every minute.
  12. You can test whether the chicken is done by poking your knife into the thickest part of the meat, where the leg meets the breast. If the juices run clear, it's done. Take it out of the oven and remove the bird to a plate.
  13. Using a slotted spoon, take the roasted vegetables out and put them into a serving bowl. Taste them to see if they need salt and pepper, but they probably don't.
  14. On to the gravy. Skim the vast majority of the oil out of the roasting tin. Turn your stove on low, set the tin on a burner, and add some chicken stock or water. Applying a wooden spoon to the tin, scrape up as much of the browned bits, the fond, as possible. Ignore the burnt bits. Tip this liquid into a waiting saucepan. Put the saucepan on the heat and bring it up to a simmer. Slowly drizzle a slurry of cornflour and cold water into the gravy, until it comes to the right thickness. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour it out into a gravy boat.
  15. By now, your chicken should be properly rested and ready for carving. Bring it, the vegetables, and the gravy to the table with pride.

Serves 6.


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
25th Sep, 2006 01:45 (UTC)
whoa; that looks good!

we have a whole chicken...we're fortunate to live with a farmer's market every saturday and so we try to buy most of our meats directly from the local farmers (no antibiotics, hormones, etc.) and we just bought a whole chicken this past saturday. i think i'll try this recipe when we make that - thanks for sharing!
25th Sep, 2006 01:57 (UTC)
Excellent. If you can get different varieties, that's even better. There are some chickens that taste more chickeny than others.
(no subject) - fanlain - 25th Sep, 2006 02:14 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sfllaw - 25th Sep, 2006 02:21 (UTC) - Expand
25th Sep, 2006 01:47 (UTC)
Sounds yummy! Though an hour seems like way too short to brine a whole chicken.
25th Sep, 2006 01:56 (UTC)
An hour makes a surprising difference. But you can brine it for four hours, or even overnight, if you can afford the time.
25th Sep, 2006 01:50 (UTC)
Only you would consider a recipe with 14 ingredients and 15 steps "exceptionally lazy."
25th Sep, 2006 01:54 (UTC)
But it's an entire meal in itself! For six people. That's an average of 2.3 ingredients per person!
(no subject) - fanlain - 25th Sep, 2006 02:15 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - robbat2 - 25th Sep, 2006 04:08 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sfllaw - 25th Sep, 2006 04:48 (UTC) - Expand
25th Sep, 2006 02:15 (UTC)
I’ll have to try this, because it sounds awesome.

I’ve also had some success with this recipe from Thomas Keller, and it’s by far the simplest roast chicken recipe ever. No need to brine!

Also, a variation of this, except with veggies inside as well as out and an overnight brining. Adding tomato wedges works especially well at keeping the inside moist.
25th Sep, 2006 02:25 (UTC)
Oh, I like simple roast chicken as well. But my simple recipe calls for spatchcocking, which makes it fast to roast and keeps things moist.
(no subject) - mutex8 - 27th Sep, 2006 00:53 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sfllaw - 27th Sep, 2006 01:47 (UTC) - Expand
25th Sep, 2006 04:01 (UTC)
I must say, I'm a little surprised by the cooking times. When it comes to birds, I'm used to roasting larger creatures, but still -- is 40 minutes really enough for the chicken?
25th Sep, 2006 04:46 (UTC)
Whoops, I left out some words.
25th Sep, 2006 05:32 (UTC)
I am in the mood for lemon chicken; I have been for a while. However, I've never done a roast and your frequent use of the word "cavity" frightens me. I may modify this and use it on boneless chicken breasts instead.
25th Sep, 2006 05:46 (UTC)
I have to warn you, it isn't very lemony. The lemon sits there to provide moisture.

For chicken breasts, this recipe will not do you very well.
25th Sep, 2006 06:27 (UTC)
You don't do potlucks very often? Probably more than half of the dinner gatherings I attend are potlucks. Thank goodness we all can do quite a number of different dishes. :)
25th Sep, 2006 13:45 (UTC)
Most of the dinners I go to are hosted by one or two people. But then again, it seems like most people here like to go out rather than eat at home.
25th Sep, 2006 13:27 (UTC)
1. Get your chicken and wash it out with cold water. Your chicken is probably trussed up, so get its legs out from under the twine so you can get at the cavity. You will want to wash inside the cavity, getting out as much blood and guts as possible.
2. If there's still a bit of neck attached, twist it off. You may have to bend it back and forth a few times, but soon enough it will snap.

Thank you for reminding me why I'm perfectly happy to eat meat that other people have cooked, but I don't generally cook meat myself. Eeek.
25th Sep, 2006 14:01 (UTC)
if you want to cheat sometime- buy a kosher chicken. the koshering process is pretty much the same as brining.
25th Sep, 2006 21:37 (UTC)
I thought koshering was supposed to draw the blood out. Although my method does this too, it replaces it with another liquid.
(no subject) - utsi - 25th Sep, 2006 21:47 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - utsi - 25th Sep, 2006 21:56 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sfllaw - 25th Sep, 2006 22:03 (UTC) - Expand
25th Sep, 2006 19:37 (UTC)
Dearest Simon,

Thank you so much for this wonderful contribution to Saturday night. I will be calling you sometime this week, as we do still have to talk about stuff, but I really do hope that you were able to enjoy some of the evening. Like the eating part. We do want to do this again, and I hope that we can count on you for another dish. I think we should switch things up though, and those who brought mains bring dessert and so on.

Thanks again,

A very well-stuffed le_maistre_e
25th Sep, 2006 21:37 (UTC)
Oh good. Puddings are my other forte.
30th Sep, 2006 14:44 (UTC)
this was kickass! we made it for a dinner with another prof & his wife friday night and they gave it good reviews - thanks for sharing!
30th Sep, 2006 14:45 (UTC)
gah didn't realize i was logged out
(no subject) - sfllaw - 1st Oct, 2006 08:29 (UTC) - Expand
23rd Jun, 2009 06:06 (UTC)
Thank you for the nice article...
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )