Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken


So I got myself this cookbook for my birthday recently and thought I’d cook through it over Christmas break.  It ended up being a busy time so I didn’t get too far into it but I did have a chance to try this recipe.  We eat a lot of whole chickens in our home.  It tends to be more economical, more flavorful and has a better presentation than your usual boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  This recipe was a winner for the whole family and since it makes its own sauce, no additional gravy step is needed.  I did recruit the help of my hubby with butterflying the chicken using some new poultry shears that we got at Thanksgiving but if you weren’t feeling that ambitious, you can just ask your butcher to butterfly your bird for you.

Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken

Adapted from Ina Garten

  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1 4-pound whole chicken
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, like Pinot Grigio
  • Juice of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.


Distribute the lemon slices, onion slices, garlic, 2 sprigs of thyme and 2 sprigs of rosemary in the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron pan.

On a meat cutting board, flip chicken over so that the backbone is facing you.  Using your poultry shears, cut along both sides of the backbone and remove it completely.


Discard the backbone.  Placing two hands on the breasts, open it like a book, exposing the cavity of the bird.  The breast bone will crack.

You will see a triangular shaped bone that becomes softer cartilage as it runs down between the legs, this is the breast bone.  Using a paring knife, cut down either side of the bone and remove it completely.

Turn the chicken breast-side up and pat it dry with paper towels.  Place in cast iron skillet, on top of the lemon/garlic/herb/onion mixture.  Using your hands, drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of ground pepper directly on the chicken.  Place remaining sprigs of thyme and rosemary on top of the bird.


Roast chicken for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, carefully pour the wine into the pan (not on top of the chicken) and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.  Remove the chicken from the oven, sprinkle with the lemon juice and cover the skillet with aluminum foil.  Let chicken rest for 10-15 minutes.  Cut the chicken into pieces and serve with pan juices.


Note:  Ina’s original recipe called for pulsing the thyme and whole fennel seeds with the salt and pepper to a fine ground mixture.  Surprisingly, I was all out of fennel so I just adapted the recipe with what I had.  Dried herbs de Provence would be a great substitution as well.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Chris says:

    This was the first recipe we made from Ina’s new book, too. We saw her make it on her show & couldn’t stop thinking about it! Haha! We had the butcher at Sprout’s butterfly the chicken for us, and they gave us the backbone to use in soup or bone broth. So looking forward to seeing what you will cook next, Susy! xo


  2. Susy says:

    There are several recipes in there I want to try soon! You’ll have to tell me what you do next from her cookbook, Chris!


  3. Chris says:

    I’ve made the sautéed shredded Brussels sprouts twice. Simple, but tasty. The filet mignon looks amazing, and I also want to try the couscous, spiced pecans, challah, panna cotta, and limoncello ricotta cheesecake (including the homemade ricotta recipe). xo


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