Introducing Your Go-To Lemon Roasted Chicken Recipe
A good roasted chicken is one thing that every home cook should have in their arsenal. It has so many things going for it: affordable, simple, nutritious, one pan wonder, and ummm delicious! This caramelized lemon roasted chicken is a perfect springtime family dinner. It would look scrumptious on your easter table or even when having guests over. You can prep it ahead and then put it in the oven to do its thing while you toss together a salad and warm some crusty bread. You got this!
The Trick to That Crispy-Tender Lemon Roasted Chicken
First things first, you’ll need to remove the backbone from the chicken. If I were you, I’d just ask the butcher to do it for me… yes they do those sorts of tasks, all the time! It’s pretty easy and straightforward to remove the backbone your very own self, so just pop up a YouTube video if you need to tackle that. (I used my trusty kitchen shears.) You are perfectly allowed to use chicken pieces instead of a whole bird if that’s your heart’s desire.
Next, in order to butterfly your bird, you will lay it on its back, breast side up, and gently press down in the center, with your palm, until you hear a crack. Now you’ve got a butterflied, or spatchcocked chicken all ready for a lemon curd bath. Make sure to pat it dry with paper towels, which will help get you that crispy skin at the end.
Place the chicken in a shallow heavy duty roasting pan. (My recommended roasting pan on Amazon)
The Secret: Lemon Curd
The secret to this crispy-tender and vibrant caramelized roasted chicken is found on your baking shelf. It’s bathed in lemon curd. Lemon curd is a preserve with a thick consistency made from lemons, butter, eggs, and sugar. Maybe you’ve had this sweet, jammy, lemony concoction on a scone or in a dessert. However, it’s about to change your roasted chicken for the better! This is the one I used.
Take your lemon curd mixture and smear it on the underside of the chicken (where there’s no skin) and then flip it over (breast side up) and gently slide the end of a fork or spoon under the skin. Start at the top of the breast and separate the skin from the flesh. This is making space for that luscious lemon curd mixture.
Then, spread a thin layer of the remaining lemon curd over the top of the skin. Add the halved lemons and garlic heads, cut side down around the chicken. Drizzle the whole shebang with a little olive oil. Side note: those heads of garlic are going to become creamy roasted dreamboats that you will squeeze onto some crusty bread and finish off with sprinkles of sea salt. You won’t believe how wonderful that bread will taste!
White Wine Pan Sauce for the Final Touch
Now, your beautifully dressed chicken is ready for the oven! After 25 minutes of cooking, add a splash of white wine to the pan. This will keep the roasting pan from burning and create a delicious pan sauce. You’ll literally want to completely marry that sauce!
If you’re needing a good veggie to go alongside your lemon-lathered bird, check out my recipe for a browned butter that you can use on broccoli, cauliflower, or the mythical romanesco.
I also recently shared my Top 3 Components For Setting Your Table on my Instagram. If you’re not following…you should be!
Lastly, to read more about the heart behind filling your kitchen table full of your favorite people and delicious food, check out my series I wrote a couple years back on this very thing: “Taking Back the Family Table“.
Happy Easter, friends!
Caramelized Lemon Roasted Chicken
- 1 3.5-4 lb. whole chicken backbone removed, butterflied
- 3/4 cup lemon curd
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme chopped
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 lemon halved
- 2 whole heads of garlic top 1/4" removed
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- loaf of crusty bread for serving
- Pre-heat the oven to º450.
- Mix together 1/2 cup lemon curd, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Set remaining 1/4 cup lemon curd aside.
- Place the chicken in a shallow heavy duty roasting pan. Take your lemon curd mixture and smear some on the underside of the chicken (where there's no skin) and then flip it over (breast side up) and gently slide the end of a fork or spoon under the skin. Start at the top of the breast and separate the skin from the flesh. This is making space for that luscious lemon curd mixture.
- Spread the rest of the lemon curd mixture under the skin, all the way to the legs and thighs. Tuck under the wings and lay the legs flat. Spread the unseasoned lemon curd, that you set aside, over the top of the skin in a thin layer. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
- Add a the halved lemons and garlic heads, cut side down, around the chicken. Drizzle everything with a little olive oil.
- Roast in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. Then, add the white wine (This will keep the roasting pan from burning and create a delicious pan sauce. Using tongs, turn the garlic heads and lemon halves over, cut side up. Roast another 15 to 20 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads º165 when inserted into the thigh. Cover chicken with foil if it begins to get too brown.
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and squeeze the juice from that roasted lemon over the top. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of the garlic heads with your fingers into a small bowl. Enjoy the roasted garlic by spreading it onto some crusty bread with a sprinkle of sea salt.
- Serve this delicious spring chicken alongside a tossed salad and roasted garlic slathered warm bread. Enjoy!