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Roast chicken with garlic, lemon and basil recipe

Roast chicken with garlic, lemon and basil recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
  • Chicken
  • Cuts of chicken
  • Whole chicken
  • Whole roast chicken

To keep chicken moist and tender, I roast it with two sliced lemons, a few cloves of garlic and fresh basil. The gorgeous smell from the kitchen will have them queuing up for dinner!

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 lemons, cut into 10 slices
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:1hr30min ›Ready in:1hr40min

  1. Preheat oven to 240 C / Gas 9. Lightly grease a roasting tin and place chicken in it.
  2. Season inside of chicken with salt and pepper and top with 3 lemon slices, basil and 3 cloves of garlic. At the juncture of the thighs, prick holes in chicken and insert remaining garlic cloves. Spread remaining lemon slices over chicken and around it. Season outside of chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 180 C / Gas 4 and cook for about 1 1/2 hours (depending on size of chicken), or until juices run clear. Baste occasionally with juices while cooking.
  4. If skin seems to be getting too dry, cover with foil about 20 minutes before end of cooking.

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Recipe Summary

  • 4 chicken breast halves, boned and skinned
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Place chicken breasts on a cutting board. Flatten slightly using the smooth side of a meat mallet. Dust both sides lightly with flour.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until bubbling. Saute chicken breasts until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Add chicken stock, lemon juice, basil, and lemon zest. Cover and simmer until chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 10 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a warm platter. Cover loosely to keep warm. Boil remaining liquid over high heat, uncovered, until reduced to 1/2 cup. Spoon sauce over chicken.

  • Heat the oven to 450°F. Remove the packet of giblets from the cavity of the chicken (and save for use in a stock if you like — but don’t include the liver, which will make the stock bitter). Pull any loose fat from around the opening. Rinse the chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the outside of the chicken with about 1 Tbs. of the softened butter. Mix the remaining 2 Tbs. butter with the chopped lemon zest and herbs. Rub the butter on the inside of the cavity and under the breast skin (see photos). Sprinkle the inside and outside of the bird with the salt and pepper. Pierce the whole lemon with a sharp knife and put it in the cavity of the chicken. Brush the garlic halves liberally with the olive oil and reserve.

    Slip your seasonings under the skin for full flavor and moist meat. Rub the chicken all over with softened butter, gently pushing the butter and other seasonings under the skin without tearing it.

Good drippings are the foundation for a good sauce. Tilt the pan and spoon off as much fat as possible. Set the pan over high heat to caramelize all the juices, but be careful not to let them burn.

Herby roast chicken with garlic lemon toasts

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Stuff the chicken with the preserved lemon, basil, bay leaves and 1 of the garlic bulbs. Place in a roasting tin, season inside and out, then rub olive oil all over the skin. Roast in the oven for 1 hr, basting regularly.

After 30 mins, nestle the other garlic bulb in the tin, then cook with the chicken for the final 30 mins. Test if the chicken is cooked by pushing a skewer into the thigh – if the juices run clear, it’s done. Leave to rest somewhere warm for at least 15 mins, catching any resting juices.

To make the toasts, grill or toast the sliced ciabatta. Take the softened garlic bulb that cooked alongside the chicken and squeeze the flesh onto the toasts, then roughly spread over with a knife. Remove the preserved lemon from the chicken cavity, roughly chop and scatter over the toasts. Drizzle with more olive oil, if you like, and serve alongside the chicken to mop up all the juices.


Preserved lemons are used in North African cooking, most often in tagines. They come in a salty brine and have more of an intense, tart flavour than fresh lemons. Look out for Belazu preserved lemons, available in larger supermarkets and delis. Try preserved lemons chopped in salsas for fish and chicken.

  • a Whole Chicken
  • 1 tablespoon Butter, at room temperature
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Lemons
  • 2 Oranges
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Chopped Basil
  • 3 cloves of loosely chopped Garlic
  • 1 clove of finely chopped Garlic
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • about 2 cups Chicken Stock or Broth

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the giblets from the cavity and throw away. Remove any other packing materials. Rise the chicken in cold water - both outside and inside the cavity. Pat dry with a paper towel. Generously season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper.

Slice one lemon and one orange in half, and squeeze the juice from one half of the lemon and one half of the orange. Remove any seeds and pour into a small bowl. Stir in the olive oil, finely chopped garlic, half of the oregano, and half of the basil. You will use this mixture to baste the chicken.

Loosely chop the remaining lemon and orange. Stuff the chicken with the loosely chopped garlic and the chopped lemon and orange. Tie the chicken legs together to help hold the citrus in place. You can use butchers twine, or you can fold up aluminum foil and wrap it around the legs and twist together.

Place the chicken breast side up on a roasting pan. In a small bowl, stir together the butter and the remaining oregano and basil. Rub the seasoned butter all over the chicken and then sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Brush some of the lemon and orange juice mixture over the chicken. Once the oven is preheated, place the chicken on a middle rack.

As the chicken roasts, you want to make sure that the pan drippings do not burn. Add chicken broth and/or white wine to the bottom of the pan as necessary to prevent the drippings from burning.

Baste the chicken every 20 minutes with the lemon and orange juice mixture.

The generally accepted cooking time for roast chicken is 20 minutes per pound. Julia Child used the formula 45 minutes plus 7 minutes per pound of meat. Regardless of the formula, you decide to use, you need to cook the chicken until a meat thermometer placed in the inner thigh reads 170 degrees. I like to use an in-oven thermometer that measures the temperature of the chicken while it cooks.

Remove the chicken from the roasting pan and tent with foil. Use the drippings from the pan to make gravy. Add any leftover basting mixture to the gravy. Let the chicken sit for a total of 10 minutes before carving.

How Long is Chicken Good Once Cooked?

Cooked chicken stored properly is safe to eat or 3-4 days after cooking. Always make sure you put the leftover chicken in an airtight container, storage bag, or tightly wrapped in aluminum foil.

Another note to consider is the date on the chicken before you are preparing it. I always err on the side of caution. In our house, chicken is eaten within 48 hours of cooking. If I know that I won't be able to eat it all, then I will wrap and freeze it to use for a future meal.

Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken

Cooking a whole chicken is something I found intimidating for a ridiculous amount of time. The insides grossed me out after years of not eating any meat at all, I was faintly terrified of all the fat in the skin after believing for so long that skinless boneless chicken breasts were the “healthiest”. Similarly, I was frightened by the idea of undercooking the damn thing and giving myself food poisoning. Chickens and I were not getting along. Needless to say, I spent quite a lot of time overcooking whole chickens and then wondering what all the fuss was about. I mean, it’s just as dry as a chicken breast and five million times more hassle, right? That’s what I thought. Until I figured out this method and the super simple lemon garlic roast chicken showed me the way to tender, flavorful roast chicken. Yay!

In fact, the meat is so delicious when roasted correctly that I keep the seasonings really simple. This Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken is delicately flavored and lets the bird itself shine. The wonder of a simple digital meat thermometer comes into play here, especially useful when you’re learning how a “done” chicken looks and feels. I use a pocket sized one like this. Once I learned about how to rest meat before cutting into it – thanks, vegetarian years! – I discovered how to let my oven do all of the work. This is the easiest, most fool-proof way I’ve found to get a moist, delicious chicken without having to do anything more complicated than making sure it’s cooked through at the end. No basting, no turning, no flipping. Thank goodness. If I’d ever had to eat another boneless, skinless chicken breast again, I’m not sure I’d still be here today, fighting for the last piece of chicken skin!

To continue with the easy and simplicity of this Lemon Basil Chicken recipe, you do not need any expensive or numerous kitchen gadgets. All you need is:


  1. If your marinated chicken has been refrigerated, let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (time permitting).
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook, undisturbed for 3-5 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side.
  3. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 5-7 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.


  1. If your marinated chicken has been refrigerated, let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (time permitting).
  2. Meanwhile, grease and preheat the grill to medium heat, 375-450°F.
  3. Grill chicken undisturbed for 5-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 165 degrees F.) The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken.
  4. Remove chicken from grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Chicken Leg Quarters Roasted with Lemon, Garlic and Herbs

In support of the axiom that simple food is the best food, this post is dedicated to our friend Bill. Over the years, Bill and his wife have come over for dinner on occasion and I have served lots of different menus depending on the season, the other guests and the celebration. But no matter what culinary creativity I might try to show off, this simple chicken recipe is his hands-down favorite. I’ve tried him out on some of my best recipes—beef bourguignon, homemade lasagna, steaks with fancy sauces –and while he’s always appreciative, his eyes only really light up for this chicken, which I served them the first time when I just didn’t have time to mess with dinner, but wanted a party. And once again I was reminded–simple nails it every time.

For ages now, I’ve been promising to post the recipe for him—and so here it is with love and just a little hesitation—because now I’ve got to come up with something else to serve him that he’ll like just as well.

Chicken Leg Quarters Roasted with Lemon, Garlic and Herbs

Juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or basil or oregano)
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 chicken leg quarters
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, seasoning and garlic. Whisk thoroughly.

Note: I like to roast this chicken slowly, taking about 2 hours. That’s because I really don’t have to watch it when I make it this way—and the slow roasting seems to keep the chicken moist on the inside but nicely crisped on the top. In a pinch though, I have done it faster—in a 350-degree oven—and that cuts the time down to 45 minutes per side.

Roast chicken in white wine, herbs and garlic

A delicious and easy weeknight dinner of roast chicken in white wine, herbs and garlic.


1 large free-range chicken cut into 8 pieces

700 gm new potatoes, cleaned

3/4 cup dry white wine or verjuice

½ cup finely chopped herbs (rosemary, parsley, thyme and sage)

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200°C and place the chicken pieces and potatoes (and lemons if you are using) in a large deep-sided roasting pan. Mix the wine or verjuice, stock, mustard, garlic and herbs and pour over the chicken. Drizzle over the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roast uncovered for an hour, or until cooked through.

Keywords: roast chicken, white wine, herbs garlic, roast chicken pieces