Rosemary Lemon Roast Chicken

It may be Mother's Day today, but this year my family celebrated mom last week. Mom decided that she wanted to head to Indiana with a friend to spend time at Conner Prairie, a living history museum where people recreate what life was like in Indiana in the 19th century. My mom is a big Civil War reenacter,  and loves all of these kind of things so this is her favorite kind of weekend, and her top choice for where to spend her Mother's Day this year. Her friend's daughter works at Conner Prairie so they are going to dress up in the historically accurate clothes and have a blast. Hope you're having a wonderful Mother's Day weekend mom!

Even though mom was not going to be home on Mother's day this year I still wanted to make her a special meal, as a thank you for being such a great mom. So instead of celebrating today, we got together last weekend for a Mother's Day meal starring this Rosemary Lemon Chicken. It's a simple recipe, but so full of flavor that everyone loved it. I can't think of much else that goes so well with chicken as lemon and rosemary do. The whole thing can be prepped the night before so all you have to do the day you want to make it is stick it in the oven. If you're craving some delicious chicken, but want to make life easy for yourself, this is the recipe you want to make. 

I was inspired to make this recipe after coming back from Paris. One morning there I was walking down the street and passed a butcher who had a big rotisserie outside his shop with a dozen chickens slowly turning on spits. Below the chickens was a big pile of red potatoes, soaking in the juices of the chickens that were dripping down as they roasted. It looked and smelled amazing and I knew I wanted to recreate it at home. Since I don't have a rotisserie, a good roasted chicken was going to have to do instead. Roasting the chicken over a bed of red-skinned potatoes allowed the chicken juices to permeate and flavor the potatoes as everything cooked. While this prevents the potatoes from getting crispy and brown, it does make them flavorful and creamy. 

I love rosemary with my chicken and potatoes, so I threw a lot of chopped rosemary in this dish as well as some chopped fresh thyme because I had some in the fridge, but you can always use whichever herbs you like best, it doesn't have to be rosemary. Don't skip the lemon however. It permeates the chicken and potatoes, brightening everything with its tart acidity. The perfect pairing with the earthy rosemary. This one is definitely a crowd-pleaser. Impress your guests this weekend with this simply amazing roast chicken. 


Happy Mother's Day to the best mother around!!


Rosemary Lemon Roast Chicken
Adapted from The Cafe Sucre Farine

  • 2 whole chickens, cut into pieces, bone-in, skin-on
  • 2-3 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (do not use bottled lemon juice, it must be freshly squeezed)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds of small red skin potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon sliced in ⅛-inch slices

The night before you plan on roasting the chicken, or early on the day of, mix the rosemary, thyme, garlic, 5 teaspoons salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil together in a small bowl. 

Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Pour the oil-herb mixture onto the chicken and use your hands to mix the chicken and the oil mixture together, rubbing it into the chicken and under the skin, coating everything evenly. Cover bowl and place in the fridge at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. 

The next day, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease one or two sheet pans with oil. Combine potatoes, olive oil, the 1-2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a medium-size bowl. Toss to coat. Turn potatoes out onto prepared sheet pans in an even layer. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Remove pans from oven and add the chicken breasts to the pans, skin side up in between the potatoes. Tuck lemons around chicken and potatoes. Roast for about 30-45 minutes longer, or until the breasts reach 160˚F in the thickest part. (If breasts vary greatly in size, you may need to remove the smaller ones 5 minutes before the larger ones.) My chicken took about 38 minutes. 

Remove from oven and cover chicken loosely with foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8-10