Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken is a classic recipe that everyone should have in their repertoire. This spatchcocked, perfect roasted chicken with an amazing aroma is so worth it!
What smells better than a roast chicken? Well, maybe a grilled chicken, but this is a post with a lemon garlic roast chicken recipe, so forget about the grilled chicken!
But keep in mind that the sense of smell plays a huge part in determining what we put in our mouths. Over 70% of what we taste is really determined by how something smells.
I will tell you this. Walking into a house, especially after a long week, and smelling roast chicken is almost indescribable. Not only does the air feel warmer and the house more comforting, the aroma of a garlic roast chicken is highly intoxicating.
When my in laws were visiting I made this roast chicken recipe and let me tell you…the scent of this chicken drifting through the windows, brought them quickly in from the RV.
Roast chicken is good any time of year, but Fall seems to be the time to start putting the oven back into high gear.
Nights are cooler and warming up the kitchen isn’t a bad idea. I love roast chicken and there are a myriad of ways to make it. Everyone seems to have their favorite way, but I’ll share with you my latest method.
First it is important to know what you want out of your chickie. I prefer mine to have a crisp skin but be moist at the same time.
Flavor is very important to me, so I love to use a lot of seasoning. To achieve this I marinate my bird for as long as possible so the flavor of herbs and spices can seep into the chicken.
Generally this is determined by how far I plan ahead, which usually isn’t far enough!
How do I make crispy roast chicken?
One way I accomplish keeping my bird crisp is by spatchcocking my chicken. It’s easily done if you have kitchen shears, which is one of my favorite tools in the kitchen.
So get ready to spatchcock! You could use a sharp heavy knife or cleaver, but I love my shears. Now why are we doing this? Well, several reasons. One is that it makes the chicken lie flat with the skin facing up.
This gives the bird a crispy skin which is perfection in my book. It also allows the legs to cook faster which helps eliminate the breast drying out.
The second reason to spatchcock is that I think the bird cooks a bit quicker and third-it is so much easier to cut into serving pieces when it is ready.
Much easier to carve without a backbone. (I’m sure there is a hidden message in that last sentence.)
How do you spatchcock or butterfly a chicken?
Spatchcocking a chicken is simple. Just turn the chicken over and cut out the backbone. Using your kitchen shears cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it.
Now spread the chicken’s legs apart and turn it over. With chicken right side up, and with both hands press firmly on the chicken until you hear a crack.
That should be the wishbone cracking which allows your chick to now lie quite flat. Fold the wingtips back behind the breasts and you are ready to roast.
Sticking to my point, I must say that kitchen shears are a must even if you use them for opening the hard plastic packaging that surrounds so many products these days.
Well, I kept Grandma Fanny’s shears until the paint was peeling off and they spit into two blades. At that point, I figured I couldn’t tape them together and it was time for a new pair, which my mother bought me for Hanukkah that year.
Shears are a must, people! You would find them on a list of my favorite kitchen tools, if I ever decided to make a list!
They are great for slicing pizza and flat bread. They are great for cutting chicken into serving pieces. They are really great for spatchcocking. What a word!
How to roast chicken?
The recipe below details how to roast a chicken in a cast iron skillet. I love this method but another way is to place your spatchcocked chicken on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and then topped with a rack.
This allows air to circulate which allows the chicken to roast faster and remain crispy. It also keeps the chicken from sitting in its juice which makes for a soggy bottom. The pan juices are delicious spooned on top of the chicken when serving!
If there is a second tool that every home must have, I’d recommend a meat thermometer. A thermometer inserted into dark meat should register 165 degrees when the chicken is ready to be removed from the oven.
Tent with foil and let the roast chicken rest for about 10 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
There are many ways to roast a chicken and each roast chicken recipe is a little different.
Since this chicken is roasted in a cast iron skillet, I kept the oven temperature at 400. If you are roasting on a rack, I’d turn the oven temperature up to 450.
Keep an eye though if your chicken is browning too quickly and turn down to 425 if it is. Your chicken will probably be ready in about 45 minutes unless you put it in the oven ice cold.
How many people does a roast chicken serve?
Roast chicken is an awesome dish to make anytime. A large roast chicken over 4 lbs should serve 4 to 6 people.
I always cut the breast into two pieces. With the drumstick and thigh separated, and not even including the wings, one has eight pieces.
Besides having a great meal, roast chicken leftovers are perfect for sandwiches, chicken salad, and throwing into a tortilla or pita.
Just remember to start seasoning and prepping in the morning for the best flavor and so it will be ready to pop in the oven later in the day.
This chicken recipe is a bit different in that it requires a bit of cooking on the stove top and then it is placed into the oven. If you choose not to do this step I believe it would work just fine placed directly into the oven.
Honestly, everyone should know how to make a roast chicken and scramble an egg. Both of these are on my list of dishes that everyone should know how to cook.
I know there are a zillion roast chicken recipes out there. This is a good one. It is classic.
And if you love lemon and garlic, this roast chicken recipe is made for you. And one more note: Don’t leave the windows open unless you want to make your neighbors envious. On the other hand, maybe you do!
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Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken is a classic recipe that everyone should have in their repertoire. This spatchcocked chicken with an amazing aroma is so worth it!
1 3 1/2 to 4 lb chicken, preferably fresh
1 1/2 T chopped garlic
2 T chopped fresh thyme or 4 t dried
3 T fresh lemon juice
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
1 T Olive Oil
1/2 t brown sugar
Chopped Green onions for garnish
Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Remove giblets and all visible fat. I always cut off the tail, though I know some people eat it. Get to know your chicken by loosening its skin. Slide your hands underneath the breast and carefully working your way to its legs.
Now turn the bird over and using your shears, start on one side of the backbone and cut up the side of it to the other side. Now do the same on the other side of the backbone. Discard the backbone. Flatten the bird out a bit by pressing a bit on the breast bone.
In a food processor, puree the garlic, the thyme, the lemon juice and 1/2 t salt and 1/2 t pepper. (If you want you can also puree this with about 4 T butter. This makes a very rich chicken, but it isn’t necessary. Just good.)
Now lift up the skin that you loosened and rub this into the breast and legs. Rub the remaining mixture over the outside of the chicken on both sides. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. I love lots of seasoning on chicken. It is hard to over season. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours and up to overnight.
About 30 minutes, before you are ready to bake the chicken, remove from fridge and bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 400.
Use a 12″ cast iron skillet rubbed with 1 T of oil. Thinly slice the lemons, discarding the seeds. Arrange the slices evenly on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Turn the heat to medium high and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken, skin side down and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Slide a wooden spoon under the chicken to prevent it from sticking to the lemons. Peek under the chicken to make sure your chicken is turning a nice golden brown.
Place the skillet, chicken side still down, in the preheated oven. Roast for 30 minutes. Leaving the layer of lemons on the bottom of the skillet, if possible, turn the chicken skin side up.
Continue roasting for 30-55 minutes longer, until the juices run clear, when the thigh is pierced with a skewer or a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg registers 165 degrees F.
If the chicken needs additional crisping, run it under the broiler for a few minutes, though this doesn’t happen to me. Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes and then using your shears, slice this big bird into serving pieces. I usually quarter it to serve 4, but you can also slice the breast into slices, or into two pieces, and serve up to 6.
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