By Cat, Jan 2009 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
See also: 1. Poultry & Fowl Menu; 2. Roasting a Bird; 3. Braised Chicken or Game Hen with Garlic, Herbs & Lemon; 4. Greek-Style Slow-Roasted Chicken or Game Hen; 5. homemade chicken stock; 6. Rich Brown Gravy
For general roasting instructions, see my article on Roasting a Bird. This includes brining, trussing, roasting and carving instructions for chicken, turkey, duck and goose.
Lemon-Garlic Roasted Chicken with Caramelized Vegetables
This recipe is adapted from Real Simple Solutions: Getting Organized, a booklet by Real Simple Magazine (1). Use leftover chicken, veggies and gravy to make a rich pot pie!
Brining is optional, but recommended, at least for the breasts. Not only does it enhance the flavor of the bird, it also helps it to retain moisture through the roasting process (especially the breast meat).
Experiment with different fruits and herbs in the brine and cavity stuffing. This version uses thyme, but rosemary is also excellent with lemon and garlic. Or try: orange and basil, or apple and thyme.
The veggie mix not only adds flavor and moisture to the chicken and provides a side dish, they also eliminate the need for placing a rack in the roasting pan. If you don’t use the veggies, you must place a rack in the pan, to keep the chicken out of the drippings.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- Chicken: 3.5 – 4 lb roasting chicken; set aside giblets for the giblet broth (see below).
- Brine: Make enough brine to cover chicken, with the following ingredients per gallon of filtered water:
- 1 ½ cups Morton Kosher salt,
- 3 Tbsp Rapadura or brown sugar, &
- 1 Tbsp thyme
- Giblet broth:
- Giblets from whole chicken
- Filtered water
- Unrefined sea salt (if you brined the chicken, go light on the amount of salt added to the broth)
- Freshly ground pepper
- Stuffing & Rub:
- 2 – 10 garlic cloves (to taste)
- 1 fresh lemon (for zest)
- 3 – 5 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
- 2 carrots (about 10″ long)
- 2 parsnips (about 10″ long)
- 1 large onion
- olive oil
- 2 Tbsp fresh butter, melted
- Gravy/sauce (optional):
- ¼ cup homemade chicken stock
- ¼ cup dry white wine (I use dry vermouth)
- tub or large bowl for brining
- small saucepan
- roasting pan
- large bowl
- bulb baster
- carving board
- Prep chicken: If chicken is frozen, thaw in refrigerator 36 – 48 hours until totally thawed. Remove giblets from chicken & set aside. Trim off excess fat and cut out tail, if desired. Rinse chicken inside and out, then place in brining bowl or tub. If you brine the entire bird, you will need a very large bowl (glass or stainless steel), or a large stainless steel stock pot. DO NOT USE ALUMINUM.
- Prepare brine (refer to Roasting a Bird for more on this).
- First determine amount of brine by placing bird in brining container, then measuring amount of water needed to cover the bird.
- I like to start with half of the water at skin temperature, to dissolve the salt & sugar. Then add remaining cold water. Test for adequate salt using the egg test (see sidebar).
- Add thyme or other herbs. Pour brine over chicken in brining container. Rest in refrigerator for 4 hours.
- Remove chicken from brine; discard brine, and rinse the chicken inside and out. If not ready to roast right away, put chicken in a bag or covered container, in the refrigerator. Be sure to remove it from the fridge and allow it to warm to room temperature before preparing it for roasting.
- Giblet Broth: While bird is brining, cover giblets with filtered water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, add salt and pepper, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until giblets are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove giblets; if you like them, chop and set aside for the gravy. Otherwise, chop them up for your pet. Reserve giblet broth for basting chicken (add water to make about ½ cup total).
- Roast: Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Prepare for roasting: sprinkle chicken cavities with unrefined sea salt (skip if you roasted the chicken) and freshly ground pepper.
- Stuffing & Rub: Peel garlic cloves; set aside. Grate lemon zest; set aside.
- Cut lemon in half and stuff into main cavity of chicken, along with sprigs of thyme or rosemary, and all but 2 of the garlic cloves. Truss the cavity closed.
- Rub: Mince one of the reserved garlic cloves and mix with the lemon zest. Using finger, rub some of the zest/garlic mixture onto the breast meat (below the skin), then rub remaining mixture over the breast and thigh.
- Veggies: Cut carrots and parsnips into 1″ lengths; place in large bowl. Cut onion in half, crosswise, then cut each half into 8 wedges; add to veggies in bowl. Thinly slice last garlic clove and add to veggies. Drizzle olive oil over veggies, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to mix.
- Transfer enough of the veggie mix to make a single layer in bottom of roasting pan. Place chicken, breast-up, on top of the veggies, and arrange remaining veggies around the chicken. Pour giblet broth over chicken and veggies.
- Brush top of chicken all over with melted butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast: Place pan, uncovered, in oven and roast for 1 hour. Using a bulb-baster, baste chicken with pan juices more butter 2 – 3 and times during the hour.
- After chicken has roasted for 1 hour, lift and turn chicken carefully so that the breast is down (insert a fork or wooden spoon in the cavity of the chicken to aid in turning. Brush top side with more melted butter, then sprinkle with salt and pepper (skip the salt if you brined the bird/breast).
- Return to oven and roast another hour, basting 2 – 3 times with pan juices and more butter. Test for doneness after the hour. Chicken is done when the leg joint moves easily, the breast or thigh meat (not touching bone) registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer.
- If chicken is not done after the hour, rotate again so breast side is up, and continue to roast and baste until done.
- Carving & Gravy: Remove chicken to carving board to rest. Remove veggies from roasting pan and place in bowl for serving; cover and keep warm.
- Make gravy from pan juices, if desired, using chicken broth and pan juices. Refer to Rich Brown Gravy for instructions.
- Alternately, deglaze the pan with added chicken broth and white wine. Add gelatin (optional) and whisk until dissolved (optional). Cook over low heat until reduced to half volume. Thicken, if desired, with buerre manie (butter and flour or tapioca starch, mixed to combine, then rolled into balls), or with a bit of flour/tapioca starch dissolved in water or broth.
- Carve: After chicken has rested, carve into pieces; slice the breast meat. Refer to Roasting a Bird for more on carving.
- Serve with Wild Rice or Steamed Rice (White or Brown). Or add potatoes cut into 1″ chunks to the veggie mix before roasting.
- Accompany with a tossed green salad (lettuce, thinly sliced carrots and radishes, green onions, cucumbers, and grape tomatoes) with Garlic Ranch Dressing (homemade, of course!) or Balsamic Dressing.
- Use leftover chicken, veggies and gravy to make a rich pot pie!
- Real Simple Solutions: Getting Organized, a booklet by Real Simple Magazine. I can’t find this on the Real Simple website, but Roast Chicken and Vegetables on their site is similar.