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Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken

Posted Apr 29 2012 5:05pm

Now that I am firmly back in a Spring state of mind, I'm ready to post this luminous lemon thyme roast chicken.
This simple idea came to me in the middle of a workout the other day - (I'm all about living in the moment, provided that moment includes food).  The sun was shining, spirits were high and visions of luscious lemon began seeping into my consciousness.
What would it be?  refreshing lemon-mint juice ... lemony roasted pepper hummus ... spicy lemon Piri Piri shrimp ... roasted cauliflower with a lemon-tahini dressing  ... fresh lemon curd ...
The dreamy possibilities seemed endless. 
It's not easy being held captive.  I hope you enjoy this one.

Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of two lemons
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped thyme plus a few sprigs for decorating
  • Sea salt & coarse pepper

---------------------- Notes:

Roast chicken is one of the easiest and most economical meals you can make. Add in a couple of key ingredients and it may also become one of the tastiest.
Place chicken on a rack set inside the roasting pan to get it up and away from the juices on the bottom - this allows the bird to brown along the sides.

I like to start with an initial burst of heat, followed by a more moderate oven temperature. This allows the skin of the chicken to crisp up nicely and lends a delicious roasted flavour.

Oven temperatures and birds will vary but here are some general guidelines to cooking times by weight of bird.

Chicken Roasting Times
Weight of Bird            Time 2 ½ – 3 lbs                   1 – 1 ¾ hrs
3 ½ - 4 lbs                   1 ½ - 1 ¾ hrs
4 ½ - 5 lbs                   1 ½ - 2 hrs
5 – 6 lbs                       1 ¾ - 2 ½ hrs -------
Heat oven to 450 F  
In a small bowl, mix chopped onion, a 1/4 cup chopped thyme and pinch of sea salt and black pepper together.
Place onion mixture in cavity of bird.
Drizzle or brush olive oil over bird, using your fingers to spread the oil and massage it into the skin.
Sprinkle the bird with some sea salt and pepper and top with a couple sprigs of thyme.

Place chicken in oven for 20 minutes. 
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine lemon juice, lemon zest and remaining chopped thyme.
Remove chicken from oven, reduce heat to 375 F and cover chicken with lemon mixture

Return bird to oven to roast in accordance with size/time guidelines set out above. Check on chicken periodically to ensure that it is not over-crisping. If you find that the skin is getting too dark or crisp, loosely tent foil over the chicken.
Allow chicken to settle for 10 to 15 minutes out of oven before carving. Serve with remaining fresh cilantro and warmed reserved marinade as desired.

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