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May 21, 2008

Basic Roasted Lemon Chicken with Thyme and Rosemary

Roast Lemon Chicken: Baked

Basic roasted chicken is a very simple, yet very delicious solution to an impressive meal. It gives you a little wow factor, all while being crazily easy to prepare. It's perfect for a week night or even to pull out when company comes around. Most importantly (or at least to me) is the left over chicken to make other things with and of course the potential to make chicken broth. I'm all about multi-purpose when it comes to potential future meals.

Now let's talk roasting. There are two schools of thought on the matter. Low and slow or high and fast. I however like to do a combination of the two. I like to roast the chicken at 325 F for an hour or so and then crank the temperature up to 400 F for the last 30-45 minutes. The slow makes the chicken tender and juicy, the last blast of heat gives you that lovely brown color and crispy skin. I usually bake a chicken at least two hours, but most likely closer to three. It all depends on how large the chicken is and things of that nature.

When I'm picking out a chicken I always choose a chicken that is natural. If it says it has added fluid or solution or whatever that is not the chicken you want! You want a basic, unaltered, unadorned, unmessed with (yes I just made that up! ;oP) natural chicken. The stuff they add is mostly water and/or salt and or some weird flavoring that is supposed to make it taste better, but do you want to eat some weird flavoring that is most likely some nasty chemical or would you rather do it yourself? Trust me doing it yourself is better! ;o)

When seasoning your roasted chicken you can just do basic and add just salt and pepper or you can spice it up a bit. Chicken is very versatile and it's one of those things that is very easy and very fun to play around with. If you aren't sure which way to go two choices in terms of herbs that will give you a knock out chicken every time are thyme and rosemary. With the addition of the lemon you have a wonderful combination that will wins you raves.

Some what are you waiting for? Let's roast a chicken!

What You'll Need:
1 natural chicken
Sea salt (Note: I like to use Celtic sea salt when roasting a chicken.)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, cut in half
Extra virgin olive oil (Note: Some people use butter, but I use olive oil for two reasons: 1) It's healthier and 2) I think it makes a crisper skin and gives the chicken an overall better taste.)
Dried thyme (Note: I think the dried thyme works better for roasting versus fresh thyme.)
Dried rosemary (Note: See explanation for dried thyme.)

Pre-heat oven to 325 F.

(Note: The USDA recommends a chicken have an internal temperature of at least 165 F and to be totally honest I never check the temperature. You want to chicken to be done through and if you stick it with a fork the juices should run clear. If they don't then the chicken is not done and should be cooked longer. After you've cooked a chicken or two you can usually tell by looking at it if it's done. According to USDA guidelines a 3-4 pound chicken will take 1 1/4-1 1/2 hours to bake fully at 350F. It also depends on the actual temperature of your oven as well as they can run either hot or cold.)

Rinse your chicken under cool water and pat dry. Place in a large baking dish.

Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and then stuff in the lemons.

Roast Lemon Chicken: Ready for the Oven

Next drizzle the outside with olive oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt, black pepper, dried thyme and rosemary.

Roast Lemon Chicken: Ready for the Oven

Place baking dish in the oven and cook chicken for 1 1/2 -2 hours. Then raise the oven temperature to 400 F and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes until the skin is really browned and crispy. Remove chicken from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting and servings.

Roast Lemon Chicken: Served

Notes: Lemon not your thing? You can stuff the chicken with onion and/or garlic. You can also add in potatoes and carrots around the chicken about 20 minutes before you up the temperature to 400 F to make it an all in one dish.

Posted by Dianne at May 21, 2008 9:32 AM

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Comments

I love roasting chickens. It's so much more affordable -- I can get an organic chicken for the same price as two organic chicken breasts at my local grocery store. I love the idea of putting lemons in it!

Posted by: Allie at May 21, 2008 12:41 PM

The lemons give a great flavor overall. It's very fresh.

Posted by: Dianne at May 21, 2008 7:44 PM

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