For simple entertaining or a special weeknight: roast chicken with lemon sauce

Roast Chicken With Lemon Sauce

Roast chicken with lemon sauce, January 2012

There’s something special about a whole chicken browned and piping hot from the oven. This recipe is for basic, unadorned roast chicken with a rich reduced lemon sauce. Serve with couscous or rice and steamed sliced carrots for a simple meal for guests or a special weeknight dinner. 

Maybe, like I often do, you decide in the morning that you want to roast a chicken, only to realize that it’s frozen solid. To defrost a whole chicken in 3 to 5 hours, submerge it in a sink or large container of cold water in the original airtight packaging or in a leak-proof bag. The US Department of Agriculture says to change the water every 30 minutes to make sure it stays cold. Cook immediately after thawing.

To add flavor to roast chicken you can salt and pepper it and rub herbs inside and out and/or a sliced lemon inside before cooking. But in the interest of simplicity, this recipe includes only the essentials. Flavor in this case comes from the sauce.

Couscous can be made using water or chicken broth—follow package directions. Lundberg makes several flavors of delicious gluten-free couscous.


Roast Chicken With Lemon Sauce
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 1 whole chicken, broiler/fryer (4 to 5 pounds)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or 1/1/4 cups dry white wine plus 3/4 cup chicken broth)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour (for gluten-free use white rice flour or arrowroot powder)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a roasting pan with rack.
  2. Roast the chicken: Wash inside and out under running water, removing neck and giblets. Shake off excess water. Place bird in pan, breast side up, Tie legs with string, and tent bird loosely with foil. Place in oven and check every 30 minutes. When juices begin to collect in bottom of pan, baste every 15 minutes. For final 15 to 30 minutes of cooking, remove foil and continue to baste. Roast approximately 30 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature registers 165°F and juices run clear. Remove from oven and carefully move chicken to platter.
  3. Make the sauce: Skim off excess fat from pan drippings. Place roasting pan with drippings on stove with burner on medium high. Add broth or broth and wine and garlic to pan and cook, scraping up bits. (If using arrowroot powder, reserve 1/4 cup broth.) Boil until liquid is reduced to two thirds of original amount, 5 to 15 minutes. Add lemon juice and any juices that have accumulated under the chicken on the platter. Stir in butter, oregano, and flour or arrowroot powder (if using arrowroot powder, shake in a screw-top jar with the reserved broth before adding). Cook, stirring, until sauce thickens.
  4. Carve chicken at kitchen counter or at the table, and serve with sauce and side dishes such as couscous or rice and carrots.
Serving size: about 4 ounces chicken and 1/2 cup sauce, wine version. Calories: 365; Fat: 16g; Saturated fat: 7g; Unsaturated fat: 0g; Carbohydrates: 5g; Sugar: 1 g; Fiber: 0g; Protein: 35g; Cholesterol: 108mg.


(Recipe adapted from

Shared at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and The Gluten-Free Homemaker Gluten-Free Wednesday.

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