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Verses from my Kitchen: Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken

April 24, 2011

Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken

I was staring up at the moon last night as it took its familiar place in the sheet of black canvas overhead. It was full and bright and lit up half the neighbourhood with her glow. And I was thinking about my wife and wondering if she was looking at the same moon from a thousand miles away.

Ever since I've known her, my wife always points up at the moon whenever we're outside at dark. She'll comment on how big and beautiful it is and she'll say it's a thing her mom and her have in common. No matter where in the world she is, that's the one common thread that keeps them bound together. 

So with my wife away this week and the common occurrences no longer common, I stick close to familiarity wherever I can find it. And I relish the chance to do the things we normally do because it keeps her close, at least it feels that way. And before bed each night I look over at the plump pillow that normally holds her shape and smile as a stream of light from the moon shines through the window and keeps me company.

When she is around we have certain routines that keep us grounded and connected. Half of the time we're both so busy that it feels like we're spinning in circles and we lose focus of the most important segments of our life. Each other. So we take moments like dinners at the table to reconnect. And connect.

Often it's on a weekend night when we'll stop what we're doing and come together. I'll be in the kitchen making the kind of dinner that I grew up on, like roast chicken. And she'll be nearby watching it all unfold and setting the table proper, like she does when we're having company over. In a way we are. We just happen to know them very, very well.

On Friday through Sunday nights I always think about meals like roast chicken or big bowls of pasta and it immediately conjures up images of family around the big dining room table. With us it's no different. I'll make my favourite roast chicken stuffed with lemons and herbs and garlic and we'll sit at the table together and lose track of time. And inside I wish it never ends.

With my wife away for a few more days I take comfort in that meal, even by myself. It's like I'm a kid again playing dress up for some event that never happens. In this case a family meal with the candles and wine and a place setting for two, with one empty seat. 

Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken is really a meal meant for a family, so I open up the curtains and stare at the moon. And I smile because it feels like she's right across the table from me, where she belongs.

From my kitchen to yours, happy eating!

Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken

The Goods:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • half garlic head, cut horizontally
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 6 sage leaves
  • small handful parsley
  • 4 tbsp. butter, room temperature(rub)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced(rub)
  • 3 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped(rub)
  • black pepper(rub)
  • 1 lemon, zested(rub)
  1. Place oven rack in the middle. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Rinse bird under cold running water and then pat dry. Rub generously with sea salt on the outside. Take the half lemon, garlic head and thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley and stuff inside the chicken cavity.
  3. Using a small bowl, blend the butter, garlic, rosemary and lemon zest together. Add in the black pepper and rub all over the outside of the bird. Separate the skin from the breast and rub some of the mixture underneath the skin.
  4. Cross the legs over and bind with cooking twine.
  5. Place your vegetables (your preference) in a roasting pan and place the bird on top. Roast for 30 minutes at the high temperature to get the skin nice and crispy.
  6. Drop the temperature to 375 degrees and roast for 60 more minutes*, or until the juices run clear when pricked. 
  7. Remove from the oven and squeeze a lemon over top and cover with aluminum foil to rest. Let sit at room temperature for  10 minutes and serve.
* If the skin begins to burn, cover with aluminum. 

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At April 24, 2011 at 10:43 AM , Blogger Brian Samuels Photography said...

The one thing that I truly miss is a beautifully roasted chicken. Whenever I visit my parents and my mom is preparing one, I start to salivate.

Your pictures here are wonderful... captures the simplicity and rusticity of the dish perfectly.

At April 24, 2011 at 10:44 AM , Blogger Janis said...

Sweet and heartfelt post. Your wife is a lucky lady. Sounds like you are pretty lucky too.

At April 24, 2011 at 10:46 AM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Brian, thank you! It really is a simple yet wonderful meal so it surprises me whenever people buy it ready-made. Always love your pictures so thanks for the compliment!

At April 24, 2011 at 11:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I make the same dish and it is my son's very favorite! Simple and delicious.
Happy Easter.

At April 24, 2011 at 11:38 AM , Blogger Marnely Rodriguez-Murray said...

Lovely post and I do love a perfectly roasted chicken! But your words are what I loved the best!

At April 24, 2011 at 11:48 AM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thank you Janis! It seems that she's lucky on the surface but I am truly the lucky one. Thanks!

Kirsten, it's amazing how simple food resonates with people. Happy Easter!

Marnely, thank you. Sincerely.

At April 24, 2011 at 5:31 PM , Blogger Eliotseats said...

There is nothing more comforting than memories that revolve around family and food!

At April 25, 2011 at 7:25 AM , Blogger Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

WOW! What an incredibly perfect roast chicken...crispy skin surrounded by delicious vegetables. Love it~

At April 25, 2011 at 7:28 AM , Blogger Carolyn said...

It's a great-looking roast chicken, and I am impressed you made such a nice dinner even with your wife away. I am sure she'd love to know you were eating well without her there, even while you are missing her!

At April 25, 2011 at 9:01 AM , Anonymous April @ The 21st Century Housewife said...

What a lovely post, and such a delicious recipe too! Visiting from Add a Pinch :)

At April 25, 2011 at 9:03 AM , Blogger Robyn | Add a Pinch said...

Such a beautiful post, Mike. And the chicken looks absolutely perfect!

At April 25, 2011 at 12:33 PM , Anonymous RavieNomNoms said...

That is one gorgeous chick!! Wow, it looks simply fantastic! I cannot even tell you how much I just want to reach into the screen and yank a leg off for my plate!

At April 25, 2011 at 12:40 PM , Anonymous Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday said...

Your first paragraph reminded me of the sesame street movie Follow that Bird and the "One Little Star" song:
One little star, reaching far through the night
Do you shine on my someone? Are we sharing your light?
Oh, one little star, shine on us both tonight.

It made me smile

At April 25, 2011 at 12:55 PM , Anonymous Susan said...

You romantic devil, you! Very nice writing on this post ... your wife will love you for it! And the soup from the leftover chicken! Wink, wink!

At April 25, 2011 at 3:25 PM , Blogger Lemons and Lavender said...

Many years ago in my high school photography class, my teacher told me the greatest success a photographer or artist can have is when the person viewing your work understands and "gets" it. That is how I feel about this and many of your other posts. It doesn't hurt that roast chicken is perhaps my most favorite comfort food of all time either! Well done.

At April 26, 2011 at 4:20 PM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thanks Eliotseats, I couldn't agree more.

Thanks Lizzy! Much too kind!

Very true, Carolyn. She's always worried about that stuff so I'm sure she'll be pleased!

Thank you April! And thank you for visiting!

Robyn, thanks! And for giving us an opportunity to link as a community!

Thanks Ravie. Help yourself!

Samantha, that's a great song! I'm glad it made you smile.

Susuna, it's true and she knows it. I'm a lucky man.

L and L, that's one of the kindest comments ever left for me. If not the nicest. Thank you!!

At April 27, 2011 at 11:27 PM , Blogger Kelly | Eat Yourself Skinny said...

This looks fantastic and your pictures are perfect! Glad to be your new follower! :)


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