"True wine enthusiasts don’t collect wines.
They collect memories of wines shared with friends and family."

-Dario Zucconi

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Roasted Chicken with Lemons, Garlic, Onions, and Fresh Herbs

We have a Meyer Lemon tree in our back yard. Right now, the tree is overflowing with lemons. Yesterday, my boys and I went to the back yard to pick some lemons so we can lighten up the tree a bit. With so many lemons around, I was trying to think of something to make for dinner with the lemons.

While shopping at Berkeley Bowl, I decided to pick up a couple of whole chickens and thought about roasting them with lemons. I love lemon chicken! I like the fresh citrus flavors that lemons bring to chicken dishes. I asked the Butcher to butterfly them for me. To butterfly the chickens, the Butcher cut out the backbones, and opened up the chicken a little bit, without splitting it completely in half. I told him that I would never be able to do that, he said, I'll show you one day. . . it's easy. Right! Maybe one day I'll try it, but for now, I said thank you to my Butcher.

I roasted the chickens with a mixture of lemon, onion, garlic cloves (unpeeled), fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, extra virgin olive oil, and white wine. The recipe below is fairly simple. But, the result is a mouthwatering, falling off the bone, savory, and delicious chicken dish that will please your culinary senses.

2 whole Chickens (about 4 pounds - butterflied)
2 lemons (cut into 6 pieces each)
2 medium onions (sliced)
1 whole head of garlic (take all the cloves out but do not peel)
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
About 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of white wine
2 Tablespoons of butter (diced)
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Rinse the chickens under cool water, and pat dry. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Place the chickens in a large roaster (skin sides up). Arrange the onions, garlic and lemon slices around (not on top of) the chickens. Remove the leaves from the thyme and rosemary, and sprinkle them on top of the chickens and the onions/garlic/lemons. Put the stems in the roaster. Pour the wine in the roaster (around the chickens). Add the butter on the vegetables.

Cover the chickens first with some parchment paper. Then, cover the roaster tightly with aluminum foil to seal the moisture in. Place the roaster in the oven, and cook for about 2 hours. Uncover and crank up the heat to 400 degrees.  Roast for about 40 minutes (until the skin is nice and crispy, and has a beautiful golden brown color). Once done, remove from the oven and let the chickens sit for about 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite side dishes. Enjoy!
Tonight, we served the chicken with mashed sweet potatoes (my 5-year-old son's favorites) and roasted brussels sprouts. The chickens came out very moist and juicy, and loaded with lots of concentrated flavors. My friend Keith stopped by to bring me some home-made chicken stock, and tried some of the chicken. He is the king of roasts. He said he was speechless about how moist and flavorful the chicken was.

If you try this dish, make two chickens because you will absolutely love the fact that you will have leftovers for the week. Right now, I am a happy camper because we have dinner for at least two nights during the week.

I hope you have a great week ahead. Until next time . . . Cheers!


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