No. 287: Lemon & Onion Roasted Chicken

It was a whirlwind last week from which we are now just recovering.

It was baby shower week! Which meant a fantastically full house of 5 guests plus a boatload of additional family and friends from all over the country. I was completely overwhelmed (in the best way possible) by the love showered on the Mini McC's.

With all those guests, there were a lot of coordinated get togethers and meet ups at various restaurants and breweries in town. We also did a lot of gathering at our home as well.

Lemon & Onion Roasted Chicken

This recipe ended up being Thursday night dinner for my parents, mother-in-law, Mr. McC and myself while we watched basketball.


3 large carrots, peeled
3 parsnips, peeled
1 fennel bulb, quartered
2 handfuls Fingerling potatoes
1 large sweet onion, quartered
1 sweet potato, cut in medium chunks
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 4 to 5 pound roasting chicken
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 sprigs thyme or rosemary
1 large onion
6 to 8 sage leaves
1 lemon

Veggie note: In addition to or in place of any of the vegetables listed you could add turnips, large winter radishes, celeriac, whole mushrooms or anything you prefer.

To make

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Choose any of the vegetable selections in any combination you like. Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish or roasting pan with the vegetables. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and a tablespoon of olive oil over the vegetables. Use your hands to smear the vegetables thoroughly with the salt, pepper and oil.

Thoroughly wash the chicken, and pat dry. Salt and pepper the chicken cavity, and throw in the garlic cloves and either rosemary or thyme as well. Place the chicken breast side up on top of the vegetables in the baking dish.

Chicken and veggies

Peel the onion and slice crosswise, keeping the onion slices intact, and making each slice about 1/4" to 1/3" wide. Basically you will have about 8 onion "plates" of various sizes. Run your hand under the breast skin, releasing the skin from the meat. Run your fingers under the legs as well to separate the skin from the meat. Take the larger onion segments and place them under the skin, 2 segments per side of the breast. Take the smaller onion segments and place them under the leg skin. Any remaining, loose onion slices can be thrown into the cavity.

Slide 6 or 8 sage leaves under the skin, and you can place them on top of the onion slices. Conversely, you can place a sage leaf on each onion segment as you slide the onions under the skin.

Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice all over the chicken, working the lemon into the skin with your hands. Throw the lemon halves into the cavity and rub the remaining olive oil all over the chicken. Sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper over the bird.

Place the bird in the middle of the oven. Baste the bird occasionally with the pan juices that accumulate. The chicken will be done in 80 to 90 minutes.

Done bird

Test the bird for doneness by wriggling the leg, and if the leg comes out of the joint easily the chicken is done. Let the chicken rest about 10 minutes before carving. To serve, place the chicken on a serving platter, surrounded by the roasted vegetables. Serve the jus on the side.

The results

With all the hooplah I completely forgot to take an 'after' picture, but this chicken was lovely! It came out crispy on the outside and nice and moist on the inside.

It did take a full two hours, not the 90 minutes suggested above. I'm not sure if that is just my new oven (we're still getting to know one another) or the recipe.

I will tell you that while the veggies were yummy and juicy thanks to all the liquid in the pan, I still prefer them cooked separately. I like a good 'roast' on my root vegetables and don't need all that liquid.

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Amelia McCormick

Kansas girl transplanted to Asheville, North Carolina. Smiler, lover of great food and wine, facilitator, runner, storyteller, wife, optimist, and mother of sweet twins:)

Asheville, North Carolina