Betti's Kitchen Table

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Lemon Herb Chicken

on May 23, 2013

Well, this weekend I was blessed with four or five whole chickens. I normally do not buy whole chicken, nor do I normally cook whole chickens but I figured I would rather than cutting them up. I figured this would be a chance to experiment. I have seen lots of recipes for chicken made with lemons and I just happened to have a hole bag of lemons that I needed to use before they spoiled. Et voila! Lemon herb chicken and roasted corn with lemon chili butter. Most of the recipes that I had seen called for the use of fresh herbs, and undeniably fresh does give better flavor, but all I had was dried herbs. So I improvised. I like a nice crispy skin on roasted chicken and one of my tricks is to stuff butter under the skin when I do cook whole birds. So I made lemon pepper butter and improvised the rest. I have a large family and cook for anywhere from seven to nine people on any given night, but you could easily half the recipe. Here goes….


8 whole lemons
2 whole chickens thawed
2 T dried Rosemary
1 T dried Thyme leaves
1 T whole peppercorns
1 tsp. freshly cracked pepper
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt
1 Gallon size Ziploc bag

Place 1 stick of butter in a small bowl. Zest two of the lemons into the bowl with the butter. Squeeze the juice from these two lemons into the same bowl, and save the lemon halves. Add 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked pepper. Stir to combine. Place juiced and zested lemon halves into Ziploc bag. Of the remaining 6 lemons, cut two into thick slices and the rest into quarters and place in the Ziploc Bag. Add the olive oil and the dried Thyme. Place the whole peppercorns and the dried Rosemary in a mortar and pestle and crush slightly, then add to the bag with the lemons. Seal the bag and move the lemons around to mix the herbs and distribute it among the lemons. Let sit for four hours. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the necks and innards packets from the chickens, any loose fat, and pat the chickens dry outside. Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper and rub he seasonings into the chickens. Using your hands, loosen the skin from the chicken breast. Stuff the slices of lemon under the skin of the breasts and put the lemon quarters into the cavity. Close the opening with trussing string or with toothpicks. Rub the lemon pepper butter on the outside of the chicken and wrap the entire chicken in aluminum foil. Roast at 350 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or a meat thermometer reads an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Open foil during the last 30 minutes of roasting time to allow the skin to brown and crisp up.


One response to “Lemon Herb Chicken

  1. Chicken falls off the bone, is tender and juicy, even the breast meat. The family has rated this a 10! Go me!

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