Guest Blog Post: Roast Lemon Chicken

April 23, 2010

My cousin Karlye lives in Toronto, Ontario (that’s in Canada, people) with her husband Jeff and her two adorable kids, McCoy and Margo. Here’s a photo of me with the two little ones. She’s also an excellent cook and a great cousin, too!

Moms’ Night Out. Three of the greatest words I’ve ever heard. I am very lucky to have a fabulous group of gal pals – we meet weekly with our littlest ones and once a month or so, we gather over a meal to laugh, laugh, and laugh some more.

We eat good food and drink great wine. This month’s meal was no exception. For inspiration I turned to another one of my gal pals, Ms. Ina Garten (aka the Barefoot Contessa). As a busy mom of two little kiddos, I’m always looking for something quick, relatively easy, healthy and delicious! Ina never lets me down. About a year ago I purchased her Barefoot in Paris cookbook and wow, it’s fantastic. Almost as good as being in Paris. Almost.

The first meal I made from Barefoot in Paris was Lemon Chicken. I could not believe how easy and tasty it was – a big hit in our household. But for this month’s mommy gathering, I chose bone-in chicken breasts instead of the whole chicken Ina calls for. I figured it would be easier to serve (and clean up!). I was right.

I started by covering baby red potatoes, sliced onions and lemon wedges in olive oil. Then I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and topped it all with the chicken breasts. Before popping the chicken in the oven, I slid a very thin slice of lemon under the skin of each chicken breast and then poured three tablespoons of melted butter over the entire dish. I cooked the dish for about 45 minutes at 425 degrees then threw in a handful of baby carrots, gave them a quick toss with the other goodies in the pan and cooked it all for another 15 minutes or so. The lemony juice that collects in the pan is perfect for pouring over the chicken and veggies!

And I mustn’t fail to mention that this meal was a potluck; in addition to roasted lemon chicken and a delicious mache and strawberry salad, we enjoyed a delicious start and end to our meal – a cheese platter from our local cheese shop and a divine chocolate torte from our local patisserie.

There are many things that make a dinner gathering a night to remember. I’m a fan of pulling out all the stops – fresh flowers, great music, the good china – but what really makes it special is being with dear friends and enjoying a meal like this.

One final note: I originally thought Ina Garten was a bit snobby when she suggested buying the most expensive chicken one can find, but now I agree with her. I’ve made this dish many times and can attest to the fact that chicken bought from our local butcher tastes much better. It’s worth the splurge, trust me! Especially if you’re making this meal for someone special, or in my case, someone special times 5.

Bon Appétit!

Barefoot Contessa Lemon Chicken
Inspired by Ina Garten

1 (4-5 pound) roasting chicken
1 large yellow onion, sliced
Really good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, quartered
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Toss the onion with a little olive oil in a roasting pan.
  • Place the chicken on top and sprinkle the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Place the lemons inside the chicken.
  • Pat the outside of the chicken dry, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 1 ½ hours, or until the juices run clear.
  • During the last 15 – 20 minutes of roasting, add some baby carrots to the roasting pan.
  • Cover with foil and allow the chicken to sit it at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  • Slice chicken and cover with pan juices. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm.

It looks like this:

One comment

  1. What fun to see Miss Karlye and to read her about her evening. Jeff and kids were staying with me (her mother-in-law) while all the fun was happening, so it’s neat to see how much pleasure she and her pals derived from being together!

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