A special dish for a special occasion! My husband and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary last week. Wow…what an amazing TWELVE years it has been. So blessed to have him in my life! We celebrated with a long weekend in Vegas a few days before the actual anniversary date, so I wanted to do something special for our anniversary dinner. And this Lemon Roasted Chicken was the perfect meal for the occasion.
This chicken has maximum lemon flavor – It’s covered in butter that’s infused with lemon zest, there’s lemon inside the chicken, and lemon slices all around the chicken. Oh…and the carrots and garlic cloves roasted in the lemony chicken juicy goodness? Soooo….much…..flavor!
I used a cast iron skillet but you can also use a roasting pan. If you use a roasting pan, you’ll want to place the carrots and garlic cloves under the chicken so that they don’t dry out and burn. I recommend using a cast iron skillet if possible, though.
1. First, make sure your oven racks are properly spaced so you have enough room for the chicken. I ended up removing the top rack because my oven is quite small. You’ll want to do this while the rack is still cool, and not after the oven is pre-heated! Preheat to 450 degrees F.
2. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Make sure you get it as dry as possible.
3. Zest a whole lemon, then cut the lemon in half. Place lemon zest and butter in small dish. Melt the butter in the microwave (should take about a minute). Give it a stir so that the lemon zest is incorporated well in to the warm melted butter.
4. Place the lemon halves in to the chicken cavity.
5. Pour the melted butter all over the chicken. Use your fingers to spread the melted butter evenly throughout the whole chicken. (I recommend using latex-free kitchen gloves for this task so you don’t end up with butter-fingers. haha).
6. Sprinkle seasoned salt and pepper liberally all over the chicken. Place the chicken on a cast iron skillet; breast side down. The white meat tends to be dry, so putting it breast side down will allow all the juices to flow downwards to keep the white meat super moist.
7. Arrange lemon slices all over chicken. Place carrots, garlic cloves and fresh thyme in the skillet.
8. Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees F, then immediately place chicken in oven. Leave it alone for 50 minutes.
9. After the initial 50 minutes, you’ll want to start checking the temperature of the chicken (place thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh) until it reaches an internal temperate of 165 degrees F. Sorry, I wish I could give you an exact time, but it really does vary depending on the size of the chicken. I recommend using a
Digital Cooking Thermometer/Timer. This is the one I use:
I use it all the time when cooking meat so it’s definitely worth the investment. You won’t need to keep opening the oven door and stabbing the meat multiple times with the traditional meat thermometer. You can set the temp alert so it will beep when it reaches the right temperature. Perfectly cooked meat every single time!
10. Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes after you take it out of the oven before carving.
I hope you give this recipe a try. Would love to hear from you when you do!