Lavender roasted chicken?

I have this idea that I want to have a chicken roasted with lavender as the centerpiece for a fancy dinner on Mother's Day. How should I go about it?

My only idea now is to rub lavender butter under the breasts and inside the cavity. Do you think it'll burn by the time the chicken is cooked, though?

Nozlee Samadzadeh


pierino May 7, 2012
In addition to the lavendar compound butter I would also put fresh lavendar in the cavity (I have a whole lot growning outside my front door). Plus I would pierce one or lemons with a fork and put those in the cavity as well. It gives the bird sort of an internal baste.
Cameron May 7, 2012
I agree that the Zuni method would be better for this meal - - beautiful presentation and it doesn't monopolize the oven (or your attention!) for hours.

May I also suggest that you consider using other, lavender-friendly herbs in the bird and use the lavender itself in other ways? Lemon, thyme and/or green garlic - - even lemongrass would work well as roasting flavors. Bring lavender to the table via a lavender-inflected mustard, lavender-lemon shortbread biscuits, OR roasted potatoes w/ Herbes de Provence + lavender. You don't want everything on the menu to have lavender in it - - that would overwhelm even the most appreciative Mom.

And, of course, Bigpan is exactly right that lavender on the table will add just the right sensory note!
bigpan May 7, 2012
And, put a few sprigs of lavender in a bud vase on the table. The fragrance at the table will compliment the dish.
SKK May 7, 2012
This recipe is from The Lavender Cookbook by Sharon Shipley. Love this book - and her recipe calls for brining or soaking the chicken in lavender. That is my preference, because lavender burns so easily. I have used this recipe for whole chicken, although Shipley's recipe is for chicken breasts. They are too dry for my taste. This is the basic recipe to play with.

Roasted Lavender Chicken

8 chicken breasts (I prefer whole chicken or a mix of breast and thighs, bone in and skin on)
In a large bowl, mix ¾ cup white wine, 1/4 cup lemon zest, ¼ cup lavender honey or honey, ¼ cup Dijon mustard, ¼ cup evo, black pepper, 11/2 tsp lemon juice, ½ tsp sea salt, ½ tsp lavender buds ground in spice grinder.

Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Then roast.

RobertaJ May 7, 2012
I think I'd put the lavender butter under the skin, and then some whole sprigs (or a handful of dried petals) in the cavity, and roast as usual (for me, at high temp) to get that "roasted chicky-bird" yumminess on the skin. If you didn't want to do the lavender butter, then I think just sprigs under the skin (only a few) would be good. I'd use a VERY light hand, though, since lavender can be so overwhelmingly flowery.
ChefOno May 7, 2012

The braise is all about intense flavor, does not make for a pretty presentation (looks better going in the oven than coming out).

I'd be interested to know the internal temp of that chicken after roasting.

I do a short (1 hr.) brine, butter and herbs under the skin, truss, rub with peanut oil, 30 min.@ 450F breast side down, breast side up until 160F and rest untented 20 min. You could sprinkle a little more lavender and maybe some thyme over the outside during the rest and baste with the pan drippings to finish.
Nozlee S. May 7, 2012
I roasted a chicken using Laurie Colwin's method -- on very low heat (250-300) for 2+ hours, basting constantly -- this weekend, thinking it would be a good candidate for the lavender treatment since there's no way it could burn. But while the chicken was tender and delicious, it wasn't as pretty as I'd want it to be for company -- and because it was so tender it was practically impossible to carve (the legs just fell off!)

Right now I'm thinking about a modified Zuni Cafe method with lavender butter under the skin, cooked at very high heat. I want that crispy skin and pretty shape to serve at the table!
ChefOno May 7, 2012

I do a roast chicken using that technique. Different herbs but they don't burn with the skin to protect them despite a fairly hot oven.

I also do a braised chicken, my version of Poule au Pot, using a variety of seasonings including Herbes de Provence with lavender. The lavender is my favorite part.

Haven't done one with just lavender so I hope you'll report back on the technique you choose and the results.

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