When we invited our buddy Randy over for dinner on Saturday night, it was to for me to “Up my game” in the food department since the poor guy gets fed the same three meals (Grilled Steak, Grilled Chicken Thighs or Pork Roast) every single time he comes over. Hey, being a creative person AND a chef, I should be able to come up with something, right? Well, later on while shopping at the grocery store I noticed a pack of 2 medium sized chickens that looked really nice, and it came to me – why not try out a “Lemon Herb” Chicken recipe I’d heard about, one where everything (lemons, herbs, etc.) gets stuffed inside the bird for roasting? This turned out to be a great decision! In the end it turned out to be one of the best meals I’ve ever made, because the chicken was super moist and loaded – and I mean LOADED – with flavour! Even better, it was really easy to put together – so easy in fact anyone can put it together and be a Roast Chicken Rock Star! Here’s what I did:
First gather all your ingredients: Chicken, (duh!) lemon (one per bird) thyme branches, rosemary branches, roasted garlic and some sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Okay, let’s put the bird(s) aside for now and make the marinade. Put some Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a small bowl – about 3 oz per bird – and then add the garlic and salt and pepper to it, just enough to season all the meat
Next cut your lemons in half and get out all of the seeds. This may take a bit of digging, but make sure you get them all – the last thing you want ruining your culinary masterpiece is some poor schmuck biting down on one of these rock hard little babies! Once the seeds are all out, squeeze the juice into the bowl with the EVOO and S & P to complete the marinade
With that done, it’s time to turn your attention to the chicken. Pull out all off the excess fat from the back, and then – this is important – break the joints where the thigh attaches to the back. We do this so that the heat can get into this area better, and cook the chicken thoroughly and evenly
After you’re done snappin’ those leg joints like a back-alley loan-shark, squeeze your lemon halves in the cavity; then spoon in your spicy marinade and rub it all around with your fingers. This makes sure the whole bird gets fully seasoned
Next you’re going to stuff in the full branches (Sticks? Twigs?) of Rosemary and Thyme; do your best not to hum Simon and Garfunkle’s “Scarborough Fair” under your breath… if you don’t get this reference, you DEFINITELY weren’t born in the 1960’s!
Now stuff the half squeezed lemons into what my Australian relatives refer to as the chicken’s “Arse” (?!) and make sure everything is all tight and firm in there. No sick jokes needed here, they are just way too easy to make at this point!
Using either butchers twine (or like I did, the elastic that the chicken came with) tie up the back legs so that it’s all trussed up, and the good stuff is all stuck inside. When you are done, it should look something like…
This! Volia! Now rub a little more of the seasoning and oil on the top and sides, and if needed sprinkle a wee bit more S & P on it, or in my case – them – since I did “double duty” on the birds
Your bird(s) are now done, and ready for the oven! However, if you are extremely organized and can get this done 6 – 8 hours early, turn them upside down in the roasting pan and refrigerate to let the marinade sink in even more. If you don’t have time, it’s not a big deal, but if you do, I recommend it. Also notice that as is customary with all my dishes, the red wine has FINALLY crept into the picture…
Roast these suckers at 350 degrees for about 25 – 35 minutes depending on their size; then broil for a few minutes to ensure you get a nice, crisp skin on top. Once you have this, cover the pan and finish with another 15 minutes or so in the oven at 350 degrees, and this will help steam all the juices into the meat. Once done, pull out of the oven and let sit UPSIDE DOWN for 5 minutes before carving – this ensures big juicy breasts – and yes, I know I said that. Here’s the finished product, which was served with Roast Potatoes and Grilled Veg, but you can pair it up with whatever you feel like; just don’t forget the red wine!
So that’s how you can take a regular roast chicken and pimp it out in a crazy and flavourful way to impress your friends when they come over, so much that they too, will declare you to be a “Rock Star Roasted Chicken Chef”! (Okay, probably not… but they will eat very well!)
Anyway I’m going to try this recipe again, but use an orange next time; and I’ll definitely let you know how that little experiment turns out! In the meantime this picture is making me very, very hungry… how about you? Bon Appetite!
Readers: What’s the best chicken recipe you’ve ever come across, and what made it so tasty? Please let us know in the comments below!