Roast Chicken with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce


Roast Chicken

Roasted Chicken with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce

I love roast chicken.  During the week, I pull together a simple family meal by roasting legs or legs and boneless thighs.  For those quick dinners, all I do is sprinkle the chicken with Creole seasoning, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  I then stick the pan in the oven and roast until all the fat has melted away and the skin is deep golden brown and crispy.  It’s a simple process for dark meat perfection.  I approach a whole chicken a little differently.  Because it contains both dark and white meat, I punch it up with more seasoning and always finish it with a sauce.  The sauce brightens up and reenforces the flavors of the bird and helps keep the entire chicken, including the white meat, moist.  Keeping the white meat moist is always a challenge when cooking any type of poultry.  It’s an even bigger issue for me since I’m one of those weird people who prefers to eat chicken almost-well-done.

When it comes to roasting, many recipes suggest cooking the chicken breast-side-down so the fat and juices continuously baste the breast meat.  I don’t particularly care for that method because the breast skin (my favorite part of roasted chicken) gets soggy.  Other recipes call for partially cooking it that way then flipping it over and finishing the roasting breast-side-up.  I’ve toyed with that idea, but never followed through.  I just continue to roast the chicken the same way I always have.  I season the entire thing with an herb butter and plug the cavity with lemon, garlic and bay leaves. The butter mixture helps baste from the outside in and the goodies in the cavity help keep things hydrated from the inside out.  It works for me and it will easily work for you too.  Just please don’t let that picture mislead you.  I accidentally snipped the breast skin when I was cutting the chicken from its vacuum-sealed package.  By the time the chicken was done roasting, the entire breast had popped out.  Can you say, “roasting malfunction”?  Fortunately, the high temp and herb butter helped “cover up” the exposed meat and it turned out perfectly.

Roast Chicken with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce Recipe

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1 5- to 6- pound whole chicken, giblets removed and discarded
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, divided
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves, divided
2 teaspoons dried tarragon leaves, divided
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 lemon, halved
3 bay leaves
8 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Lea & Perrins (Worcestershire sauce)
2 teaspoons hot sauce (I use Louisiana Hot Sauce)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven and roasting pan to 450 degrees (convection works best if you have that option).  In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with 1 teaspoon each of the thyme, oregano and tarragon and the cayenne pepper.  Using your fingers, carefully lift the skin from the breast meat.  Rub the herb butter under the skin and all over the outside of the chicken.  Generously season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper.  Stuff the cavity with the lemon halves, bay leaves and half the minced garlic.  Tie the legs together with a piece of kitchen string (to help hold its shape).  Remove the roasting pan from the oven and coat with cooking spray.  Place chicken in pan breast side up and roast, uncovered, until juices from cavity and thigh run clear, approximately 70-90 minutes.  Remove to a platter and let rest for 15 minutes.  While chicken is resting, make the sauce.  Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the roasting pan.  Place pan on two burners over medium-high heat.  Once pan is hot, add the lemon juice and deglaze, stirring to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and whisk in olive oil, Lea & Perrins, hot sauce, reserved minced garlic and reserved teaspoons of thyme, oregano and tarragon.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, for an additional 5 minutes.  Keep warm while you carve the chicken.  Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.  Makes 4-6 servings


Category: Chicken, Main Dishes, Sauces  Tags: ,
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