Lemon and Onion Roast or Roasted Chicken

By • February 22, 2010 • 50 Comments

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Author Notes: In asking several of my friends and family what dish they would remember me by, I got a number of different answers. Many loved my meat pie, and a few an Israeli chicken dish I have made for years and years. But the two most meaningful comments came from my father and one of my god daughters. My grandmother and then my dad taught me how to roast a chicken. They roasted them by the dozens for our guests at our hotel in Pennsylvania. When my dad and mom visited us last fall, he asked me to make him roast chicken like he used to make it. When we sat down to this meal, the look on his face was priceless, and I will always remember him saying, "I taught you well!" But, he was tickled with all the vegetables that were roasted with the chicken, and the sliced onions under the skin, and the lemony fragrance. These supplements to a roast chicken were new to him. He was proud that he gave me the experience of a lifetime by watching him serve home cooked meals for the summer months of every year, and he loves that food is such a big part of our lives as a family, still.

My god daughter just gave birth to twin boys. I plan to stay with her and her new family in a few weeks. When we spoke on the phone a few days ago, she said to me, "I can't wait for you to make me roast chicken." So that settled it.
Bevi

Serves 4 portions

  • 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
  1. NOTE: In addition to or in place of any of the vegetables listed, I have added turnips, large winter radishes, celeriac, and whole mushrooms. Many vegetables taste great when roasted with the chicken juices.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice all over the chicken, working the lemon into the skin with your hands. Thrown the lemon halves into the cavity.
  10. Rub the remaining olive oil all over the chicken. Sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper over the bird.
  11. 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. Test the bird for doneness by wriggling the leg, and if the leg comes out of the joint easily the chicken is done.
  12. 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.
Jump to Comments (50)

Tags: Jennifer Steinhauer, Jenny, Jenny's in the Kitchen, jestei

Comments (50) Questions (3)

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8 months ago pcrbarrett

I made this last night and cannot believe how delicious it was; not sure what made it so good - all the onions? the lemon juice? It was super moist and the veggies were great too - definitely a winner!

Cakes

8 months ago Bevi

It's terrific that you liked it so much. The onions under the skin keep the meat moist and the skin crisp. I now roast turnips, radishes and celeriac with the chicken when they are in season. So good!

Stringio

over 1 year ago auroramia

This has become our regular Sunday Dinner.

Stringio

over 1 year ago auroramia

I have started to butterfly the chicken and set it on top of the root vegetables.

Cakes

over 1 year ago Bevi

That's great, and a good way to cut down on roasting time! So glad you like it!

Georgetown_at_night

over 1 year ago Georgetown-DC

First and foremost this was delicious! Comforting and downright good. This was a first for me with the onion under the skin on the breast meat. I have often done the sage, but the addition of the onion takes the flavors to an entirely new level. All of that being said, I had some issues. I used the same proportion of vegetables and size chicken, however, after 2.5 hours my chicken was still pink and the vegetables perfect almost perfect with the exception of the parsnips which were still hard. I'm a fairly decent cook and I believe my oven is calibrated properly, however, I will check that this week. Perhaps my oven had a momentary malfunction or my roasting pan was too jammed with veggies to allow proper ventilation. When we were too hungry to wait any longer we cut off the legs and wings, ran a knife down the spine, jacked the oven to 500 and in 10 minutes it was all done! My guests didn't mind, the conversation was good and the house smelled so wonderful and when we ate the rave reviews were endless. Thank you so much for sharing a truly great recipe. I am considering briefly par-boiling the veggies, or perhaps just the parsnips to ensure those are more evenly cooked at the end of the meal. This is a keeper of a recipe! Thanks again!

Cakes

over 1 year ago Bevi

I am so glad it all worked out for you. I have noticed that some parsnips can be woody. You may have had a few of those. I am surprised the chicken was still pink after 2.5 hours. Next time you try this, you might want to roast any extra veggies in a separate half sheet pan, so as to increase heat circulation. Also, was the chicken at room temperature when you put it in the oven? If not, try that as well. Again, so glad you enjoyed it in the end!

Georgetown_at_night

over 1 year ago Georgetown-DC

I do leave my chicken out to ensure it's at room temperature. I have considered 2 things - 1st to use my turkey roasting pan which is larger than the roasting pan I typically roast a chicken in. 2nd, although I have never used it - sitting the chicken on the rack that comes inside the roasting pan. I loved the flavor of the vegetables with the chicken drippings, which is how I do a whole fish, I lay it on top of the sliced onions, potatoes and lemons. I think my event last night was a fluke. The last thing I will say is this, the one thing I love about my friends & family and cooking in my home, when an unexpected fluke like my meal not cooking occurs - no one stresses about it, including myself, when you stay calm your guests are calm. Just remember, life happens and go with it, plus it makes for an adventurous evening and fun memories of when the dinner took forever to cook!

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over 2 years ago Ree

This was wonderful...easy to do and full of flavor.. Not to mention how good the house smells
Warm and full of happiness and love...oh yea and good food. Thank you

Cakes

over 2 years ago Bevi

I am so glad you enjoyed it!

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over 2 years ago pschissel

I am making it for the second time tomorrow and will use two chickens and tons of vegtables to make sure that we have lots of leftovers for the weekend. It was wonderful the first time. Who would have believed that a simple chicken recipe could be so memorable - thank you! I had never used the technique of placing the onions in the cavity between the skin and the meat which made it so juicy! Also - the mixture of sweet and white potatoes was delicious.

Cakes

over 2 years ago Bevi

I am so glad you liked it enough to make it again! It's a great idea to make 2 birds. Enjoy your weekend!

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over 2 years ago Good Cook

Where is the print symbol to print this recipe out? There isn't any print symbol on the left side as Ellen wrote in answer to my question.

Cakes

over 2 years ago Bevi

There is a side bar to the left of the recipe photo. Below the cook's name is a Facebook icon and below that a twitter icon. Below that is an email icon in a grey shaded
Horizontal bar and below that the print icon in a grey shaded horizontal bar.

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almost 3 years ago madame cuisine

This looks really good. I think I'll try it tonight.

Cakes

almost 3 years ago Bevi

I hope it worked out!

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almost 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Beautiful!

Cakes

almost 3 years ago Bevi

Thank you! I made one yesterday - a one-pan meal is always nice.

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over 3 years ago TiggyBee

I have this in the oven as I type! Can't wait!!!

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

This was a cosmic roasted chicken couple of days! A friend
Whom I was staying with in California asked me to make the chicken for her.
She bought the chicken and veggies--she chose wax potatoes, carrots, onions
Turmips and Brussels sprouts to roast with the bird. Amazing flavors! A few hours later
My niece contacted me about the recipe, and now you have made
It!! Please let me know how it all turned out, Tiggybee, and I
Hope you enjoyed!!

Steve_dunn02

over 3 years ago Oui, Chef

There really is nothing more memorable than a good roast chicken, and this one looks simply superb. - S

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

Thanks, Steve. I hope you try this some time.

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over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Wonderful stories in your headnote. And such a gorgeous-looking roast chicken, too. ;o)

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

Thanks, Antonia. Sarah took the photo, and really did the dish justice.

Stringio

over 3 years ago auroramia

a girl after my own heart. I was going to add a similar recipe...but yours is better! Well done...Nothing like a roasted chicken to lift up our hearts :)

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

It's really a staple, isn't it?

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

Personally, I will always remember you for this, which was an AMAZING dinner last night!

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

That's so nice! I am so glad you enjoyed it, wssmom!

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over 3 years ago healthierkitchen

The smell of this cooking must be phenomenal! Have fun with those babies!

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

Oh thanks so much! I will have a great time - hope to help new mom catch up on her sleep!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Beautiful story! And my favorite meal, too.

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

Thanks. Then there is the added benefit of using leftovers for other recipes - if there are leftovers!

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over 3 years ago Midge

That's so sweet. I really think roast chicken = love. Will definitely try this!

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

I hope you like it, Midge. Please let me know how it goes!

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Nothing like a roasted chicken and vegetables, a great tribute to your dad, wonderful story, wonderful legacy for you. I missed this recipe the first time around, your photo is "mouth watering" good!

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

Thanks, Lapadia. My dad loves this revved up version of his chicken. And he loves to do the carving and cutting - one of my jobs in the hotel kitchen was to hold the platters while he carved, making sure he filled special requests; e.g. "Bubie G." always wanted a couple of legs and extra swathes of crispy skin.

I cannot take credit for the photo. Sarah took the photo when Jenny featured the recipe in her blog contribution. It really is a gorgeous photo.

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over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Bevi Excellent picture and your recipe

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

Thanks pauljoseph. Sarah took the photo, and it is beautiful.

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow--lovely story!

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

I have lots of practice with poultry shears!

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over 3 years ago maire

Thank you! I will try it and let you know! I'm just glad I can give it a go!