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Lemon & Fresh Herb Roasted Chicken

From Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair (Sasquatch Books, 2008).

Using the whole chicken is more economical than buying parts and creates less waste.  This simple recipe produces a moist, flavorful dish that can be used as a side accompaniment or as the main dish.  Watch
How to Cut Up a Chicken.

1 whole free-range chicken (about 4-5 pounds)
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

3-4 tablespoons fresh
oregano or marjoram
4-6 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Zest of one lemon

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Cut chicken into 8 parts first removing legs and thighs, then the wings, and finally the breast, which is divided in half (see How to Cut Up a Chicken).  Discard back, neck and organs or use back and neck to make stock for later use.  Place chicken pieces in a 9 X 13 baking dish.

Remove leaves from rosemary and oregano and place with garlic and salt on a wooden cutting board.  Chop together until finely minced and put into a small bowl. Add pepper and zest to bowl with herbs and mix.  Coat both sides of each chicken piece with herb mixture, using a brush or by rubbing it on.  Make sure the breasts are bone side up.

Put pan into oven and immediately lower temperature to 400 degrees F.  If your oven runs hot, turn it down to 350. Let chicken roast, uncovered,until meat is tender and skin has browned nicely. I usually remove the thighs and legs after 1/2 hour and allow the breasts to cook 15 or so more minutes, until the internal temperature is 162-165 degrees.

Remove from oven and sprinkle lemon juice over the meat before serving.

Preparation time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Makes 4 main dishes or eight side dishes

SERVE IT WITH:  Emerald City Salad
, Mediterranean Quinoa Salad or Saffron Buttered Millet


The only local organic, free range chickens I can source come with the heads and feet still attached. Can I use these in any way? Thank you.
April 1, 2010, 11:47 am

Gary H.
I think Steve should buy her a blue Mustang convertible. Vrrroooommmm! ;-)
April 1, 2010, 4:32 pm

Rebekah Kelly
The head and feet are GREAT when added to water with the bones of the chicken. It makes the broth really gelatinous (traditional way to make really nutritious broth!). Can't wait to try this chicken!
April 2, 2010, 4:31 am

Michelle C.
The chicken sounds delicious. I'm excited to try it!
April 2, 2010, 7:15 am

Anna Banana
I love how you remind people that using a whole chicken rather than buying parts is more respectful to the chicken.
April 3, 2010, 7:03 am

Collette Joi
If all you have is boneless, skinless breasts should you cover the chicken for part of the cooking to keep it from getting too dry? (We live in the desert)
July 7, 2010, 1:56 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Collette, Yes cover the pan and the cooking time can be shortened. You might remove the cover the last few minutes so you get some browning action on the surface.
July 9, 2010, 5:34 pm

Paula Wilson
I love this chicken recipe! I have made it many times since I got the recipe in one of Cynthia's classes.
July 27, 2010, 8:29 pm

Stephanie Hensley
I have always been afraid of cutting up chicken. I bought a whole organic chicken and cut it up. My family loved it. The chicken was so tender and juicy. They are already asking me to make it again. Thanks for another yummy recipe.
December 5, 2010, 3:51 pm

Wendy Willsie
chicken looks delicious. I will make it for sure. I won't open my oven and talk on the phone until I WASH MY HANDS!
December 18, 2010, 2:26 pm

Ruby Cacchione
Wow, what an amazing site. I made your fish tacos for dinner last night and my 13 yo commented on how good they were. In fact she said, Mom everything you've made from Cookus Interruptus has been good! Yes, delicious and easy!! Thank you so much
January 13, 2011, 11:07 am

Mama to Eight
Yep! I agree. I wash hands before and after handling meat, especially raw chicken. Besides that, looks like a yummy recipe! I really enjoy the interruptions...
July 20, 2016, 5:36 pm

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