Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Butterflied Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon

As I mentioned back when I wrote the post about Rosemary Lemon Chicken Stroganoff, this is one of my favorite meals to make for guests.  This is also one of my favorite meals to make when it’s just us.  My original post didn’t include photos of the first recipe since the focus was what to do with the leftovers, so I thought I would document making the rosemary lemon chicken itself as I made it the other night.  Two chickens so we would have leftovers again!  You should do the same.

2 whole chickens, cleaned and trimmed of extra fat
6 long sprigs fresh rosemary or more to taste. 
2 lemons
2 purple onions
Olive oil
Maldon or other flakey sea salt
Black pepper

Using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, cut along the backbone of each chicken.

Turn the chicken over and press down on the breast to spread it flat.

Put the chickens into a large freezer bag.

The 2 1/2 gallon Hefty bags work great. (The link says 2.5 Qt. mistakenly.
The jumbo bags are really 2.5 Gallon.  Get your act together, Hefty!) 

Pull the needles off of the sprigs of rosemary and throw them in the bag with the chicken.

Cut your lemons in quarters and pop them into the bag.  Squeeze them from outside so the rinds and juice stay in the bag. 

Cut your purple onions in quarters and add them to the bag.

Sprinkle in the sea salt and black pepper.  Pour in olive oil and then close up the Ziploc and give the whole bag a good mix around.

Try to distribute the lemons and onions farily around and then open the zipper just a little and squeeze out as much air as possible, before closing the zipper again.

Marinate chicken for a couple of hours in the refrigerator, or overnight—even a couple of days.  (Or freeze it.  Just make sure to thaw and bring the chicken to room temperature before roasting.)

Preheat oven to 425°F or 220°C.  Once the chicken is at room temperature, dump the whole bag out into a baking pan which has been drizzled with a little olive oil.

Redistribute the lemon and onions pieces around the chicken and put some of the rosemary on top.  Drizzle the chicken liberally with more olive oil.

Roast for 45 minutes.  Serve with bits of onion and even lemon, if your fellow eaters are willing.  My mother-in-law is the only person I know who will eat the roasted lemons but there are surely more people in the world who would and I just haven’t met them.  Anyhow, they look pretty on the plate. 

I serve this with couscous and use all the lovely lemony drippings off the chicken to further moisten the couscous on the plate. 


N.B. This recipe was created by Nigella Lawson. The original can be found in this book and you should buy one because it is full of wonderful recipes, written by one of my food heroes. 


  1. Oh, it sounds delicious! No wonder it tastes so good with that marinade.

  2. Rosemary, onion and lemon are three of my favorite flavors. You can't go wrong!


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