There’s something magical about sharing a simple meal around the kitchen table on a late Sunday afternoon. I’ve had so many Sunday dinners around that table. So many wonderful memories. It wasn’t about the food, it was most definitely about the company. But who wants a complicated recipe on a Sunday? I don’t. Most people I know don’t. It’s the last day to relax and unwind before we kick up the week again. So a roasted chicken with some vegetables, a salad, crusty bread and wine is a perfect and uncomplicated way to end the weekend.
The thought of Herbs de Provence takes me to the French countryside on a breeze, sunny day. This chicken recipe was inspired by that dreamy notion. Yes, I’m a romantic. A hopeless one. Is there any other kind? Anyhow, that’s how I developed this recipe.
Spatchcock means to remove the backbone and cook flat. It cooks in less time than trussing a whole chicken and the result is crispier skin and even cooking. It’s wonderful and my favorite way to roast a chicken. So here’s my take on it and I hope it also becomes your favorite way to roast chicken. Don’t have a whole chicken? Don’t worry, you can use this recipe on separate chicken pieces as well! Just remember that cooking times may vary.
Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Using kitchen scissors, cut along each side of the back bone, remove and discard it. Flip the chicken over and cut or remove the breast and rib bones.
Pictured (L) breast bone snipped to press down the chicken breast flat while on the (R) the breast bone and rib bones have been removed. It’s a matter of preference. I like the one on the right.
Rub olive oil all over the chicken and massage the Herbs de Provence rub into the chicken. Place the chicken in a large Ziploc bag and refrigerate for two days or at least overnight to let the flavors meld with the chicken.
When you’re ready to roast it, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425°F and place the chicken in a roasting pan, skillet, cookie sheet – anything really – I used a paella pan. Add lemons, garlic cloves, shallots, wine or chicken broth, butter and thyme springs. Roast until the thighs register 165°F on a meat thermometer – about for 45-55 minutes. Once roasted, remove the chicken from the oven. Lightly tent with foil and allow to rest for about 15-20 minutes.
Note: If not spatchcocking the chicken, truss the legs together and tuck the wingtips under the wings and roast for an hour and 20 minutes or so.
Roasted Lemon Chicken Provençal
A delicious oven roasted chicken that's simple to make and fancy enough for company. The secret to this recipe is the Herbs de Provence lemon rub and allowing the flavors to marry at least overnight and up to 2 days.
- 1 3-4 lb whole chicken
- 1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence, crushed
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt (prefer Diamond brand)
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
- olive oil to coat the chicken and a little extra for the roasting pan
- 2-3 pats unsalted butter
- 2 lemons, halved
- 6 shallots, cut in half
- 1 head of garlic, peel the cloves, but keep them whole
- ½ cup dry white wine or chicken stock
- 6-8 Thyme springs
- Maldon sea salt
In a small bowl, crush the herbs with a pestle or the back of the spoon against the bowl. Add lemon zest, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Spatchcock the chicken, trim the excess fatty parts, rinse and pat dry with paper towel. Coat the inside and outside of the chicken with olive oil and massage the herb mix all over the chicken. Place it in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator overnight or up to 2 days, no more than 3 days.
When you're ready to cook the chicken, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to roasting. Preheat the oven to 425°F and place the oven rack in the center.
Place the chicken in an oven safe wide skillet or roasting dish that has been lightly coated with olive oil. Add a few pats of butter on top of the chicken and place the cut lemons cut-side down in the skillet. Add the shallots, garlic cloves and white wine or chicken stock around the chicken.
Roast until the thighs register 165°F on a meat thermometer, about 45-55 minutes, depending on your oven. No need to truss or baste the chicken. Simply let it roast in the oven.
Loosely tent with foil when you remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving and serving.
Note: If you don’t have a whole chicken, you can use chicken parts. Depending on the parts (breasts are thicker than thighs) and the quantity, you will need to adjust the cooking time. I would check after 20-30 minutes, then at 10 minute intervals.