Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken
Our oldest daughter is what some might call a picky eater, but I like how others refer to it as selective eating. Same thing really, with a better name. It doesn’t sound quite as harsh or even wrong. She claims her favorite food is bananas, to me that doesn’t sound quite right but I won’t argue with her about it. She protests eating mashed potatoes and refuses to eat pickles. For those two reasons alone, I swear she’s not my kid. I love potatoes of almost any variety and can eat dill pickles by the jar. I may or may not be known for eating sliced pickles straight from the jar with a fork. Okay, it’s true. Even in my past life working retail, I kept a jar with my name on it for such a purpose. A quick snack or a tangy addition to my meal.
This same kid use to eat pickles when she was a wee little thing. She’s only occasionally eaten mashed potatoes, specifically in recent times! That’s a huge accomplishment. Where do we stand on chicken? Well, that completely depends on the night. From her perspective, cooked chicken breast has a skin. That sometimes crisp and wonderfully flavorful outer portion of the meat, simply because it has a different texture and color… she thinks it’s skin. She’s pulled apart pieces for the sole purpose of removing the ‘skin’.
Skip to my first adventure roasting a chicken many months ago. I’ve cooked plenty of turkeys but never a whole chicken, strange I know. She also wasn’t old enough to be aware of such thing previous to this. I had the chicken in the sink rinsing it down and preparing to fill it with extra flavor and goodness… perfect time for a teaching lesson! I got to show her the skin vs the meat. She thought it was really neat and even wanted to touch it. I may have even had the chicken do a little dance. I can’t be held responsible for the strange things I do.
Now, well… mostly, she loves chicken. She isn’t weirded out by the faux outer skin. She’ll even chow down, assuming it’s cut just right. Such a learning curve in figuring out how to get your kids to eat what you want them to. Even if it’s crazy delicious, they don’t want to believe you. For example, the skin on this particular chicken is so amazingly good you have to eat some. It gets nice and crisp with loads of flavor. An absolute must for snacking while you plate dinner. While the skin has a perfect bite and crispness, the meat is tender and juicy. I’m not usually one for juicy meat but this is beyond good. Best of all, you can create two dishes at once by layering your favorite vegetables on the bottom of the pan. The juices from the chicken create soft and flavorful veggies, for a perfect side dish. Cook this in your favorite cast iron Dutch oven or a classic roasting pan.
Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken
1 whole chicken 4-5lbs, giblets removed
1/2 medium yellow onion
6 cloves garlic, smashed
4tbsp butter, melted
Red pepper flakes, optional
Vegetables for the pan (carrots, celery, potatoes, etc)
Kitchen twine, optional
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare your desired pan with a thick layer of chopped vegetables.
Remove giblets from chicken, reserve for another use or discard. Carefully rinse chicken well and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken well with salt and pepper.
Cut onion into quarters, cut lemon in half and quarter each half. Add onion, lemon and 4 smashed cloves of garlic to the cavity of the chicken. If desired, tie legs together with kitchen twine. Add chicken to roasting pan.
In a small bowl, melt butter with 2 cloves garlic. Brush butter over the entire bird. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and optional red pepper flakes.
Cook until the thigh meat registers 170 or the breast registers 180. This will vary depending on your chicken size. A 4.5lb chicken took me roughly 75 minutes. If you have a digital meat thermometer, I highly recommend using it. This takes the guess work out of how long you need to cook and you don't need to keep testing the meat either. Leave the probe in, then wait for the thermometer to register the proper temperature. It's so easy! Be sure to use an oven safe, leave in style, meat thermometer!
If the skin begins to darken too much, cover for remainder of cook time.
Carefully transfer chicken to a carving board, let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
Reserve chicken carcass for soup; add to a large freezer safe bag (even double bagging if necessary). Freeze for up to several months or store in the refrigerator for several days before making soup or chicken stock.