What do you do when you crave Sunday dinners during the week? You get hip, that’s what you do. A whole roasted chicken during the week though? Absolutely. This Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Sage can be made in under an hour. No lie! It’s really no secret that a halved chicken takes way less time to cook than roasting a whole chicken, so it can definitely be done mid-week!
You can take two routes for this meal:
- Halve the chicken yourself.
- Buy a split chicken at the grocery store.
Honestly, I do whatever is convenient. Sometimes my grocer has split chickens, sometimes they don’t. If I can find the split chicken, I’ll buy it. If not, no biggie, I’ll just cut it in half myself. If you’re going the DIY route, make sure to get a ‘fryer chicken’. Fryer chicken just means that it’s a younger, smaller chicken. I usually buy one that’s around 4 pounds so that both halves fit in my cast-iron skillet.
A brief how-to on halving chicken:
1.Place your chicken rib-side down on a cutting board.
2. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut along each side of the backbone (enter through the cavity to make your first cut). I’ve heard of some people keeping the backbone and freezing it for stock which sounds like a fantastic idea, but also one that I’ll never get around to. Freeze or discard it, your choice!
3. After you’ve discarded the back bone, open the chicken up and use a sharp carving knife to make a clean cut down the center of the breast-bone. You may need to apply some pressure to cut through the breast-bone. Done!
Now it’s time to season this baby.
Because the sauce is going to be so flavorful, I keep the seasoning nice and simple: kosher salt, black pepper, olive oil and lemon. I cut a lemon in half and rub both halves of the chicken with it, squeezing the juice out of the lemon as I go. I then mix the salt, pepper and olive oil together in a ramekin and brush the entire chicken with it. Make sure you flip both chicken halves over and get the breast meat too!
If you have time to let the chicken sit and marinate, cool. If not, no big deal. It will still have plenty of flavor!
The secret to this perfectly charred skin is searing it over medium-high heat for about 7-10 minutes. You want to make sure that you coat your pan evenly with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and get it super hot before you sear the chicken, skin side down. The key here is not to disturb the chicken while it’s searing! When the skin is ready, it will loosen from the pan on its own. If you try to force it, you’ll tear the skin.
Once you’ve flipped the chicken over, add sliced garlic, cubed butter, a few sprigs of sage and a splash of chicken broth to the skillet and roast it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. A meat thermometer is super-helpful for determining if the chicken is cooked all the way through. Once it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, the chicken is done.
No word of a lie, this sauce is life!
The sauce is literally the best part! Don’t skip it!
While the chicken is in the oven, I like to blend the ingredients that I’ll use to to make the sauce in a measuring cup. Whisk together your reduced-sodium chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch and juice from 1 lemon. Dice your shallot and set it aside. This is also a good time to start preparing your starch and/or any side vegetables.
Once the chicken is done, transfer it to a baking dish or platter, and brown your shallots in the skillet with the drippings. Finally, use the broth mixture to deglaze the pan and loosen all of the bits from the bottom. Let the sauce simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer at the end if you want to git rid of any shallot bits, garlic pieces and sage leaves.
Lemon-roasted chicken pairs perfectly with creamy roasted-garlic mashed potatoes and a vegetable of your choice. I like to serve mine over a bed of sweet, buttery carrots. Spoon or pour some of the sauce over the chicken and make sure to reserve plenty of sauce for serving on the side. Garnish with lemon wedges and a few fresh sage leaves.
Voila! Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Sage!
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Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Sage
- 4 pound fryer chicken split in half
- 6 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 lemon halved
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons), cubed
- 6-8 cloves of garlic sliced in half length-wise
- 3 sprigs sage
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 shallot diced
- Rub the entire chicken with the lemon halves, squeezing the juice out as you go. Combine 3 tbsp. olive oil with salt and pepper in a small ramekin. Cover all sides of the chicken with the olive oil/salt and pepper mixture, using a pastry brush. : let the chicken rest for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat 3 tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat in a cast-iron skillet. Once the oil is hot, place both halves of the chicken in the skillet, skin-side down down and sear for 7-10 minutes, until the skin is brown, crispy and loosens from the pan on its own.
- Once you’ve finished searing, flip the chicken over, and add the sliced garlic, cubed butter, sage leaves and a splash of the chicken broth to the skillet and place the entire skillet in the oven. Roast the chicken for 25 minutes, basting every 7 minutes or so. Internal temperature should read 165 degrees F.
- while the chicken is roasting, whisk together the chicken broth, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
- For darker, crispier skin, baste the chicken with drippings from the pan and set it under the broiler for an additional 5 minutes. Rotate the skillet half-way through so the skin crisps evenly. Watch it closely so it doesn’t burn!
- When the chicken is done roasting/broiling, remove it from the skillet, and transfer it to a casserole dish (you can keep it in the oven on the warm setting). Put the skillet back on the stove burner and turn the flame on medium-low. Pour the sauce mixture into the skillet and use a whisk to loosen up any bits from the bottom of the pan (this is called de-glazing). Let the sauce simmer for 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from heat, and spoon some of the sauce over the chicken. Reserve some sauce to serve on the side. Garnish with lemon wedges and a few sage leaves. Serve with a vegetable of your choice.