- 1 whole chicken (4 to 5 pound)
- 3 meyer lemons, halved
- 1 head of garlic, halved
- 1 large Spanish onion, chopped in large chunks
- 1lb red potatoes (optional), quartered
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Good olive oil
- *twine or heavy duty cotton string to tie the legs together
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. You will be using the middle rack, so make sure that’s in place.
- Remove the giblets, kidney’s and liver from the chicken and rinse the bird under cool water. Pat the whole chicken dry with paper towels so that no surface moisture remains. Season the inside of the chicken cavity with about 1 to 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and ½ to 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Stuff the bird with 1 lemon (2 halves), and half of the garlic (you don’t need to peel the garlic that goes into the chicken). I like to put one half of the lemon in first, then the garlic, then the other half of the lemon. I also put a chunk of onion in there, but you don’t have to — especially if your bird is already stuffed to the brim.
- With a bamboo skewer, seal the chicken’s “skin flaps” to keep the garlic, lemon and optional chunk of onion inside the bird. Trim off the excess ends of the bamboo skewer so that it doesn’t burn in the oven. Yes, we’re tying the legs together later, but this is just another measure to keep everything in tact while you’re flipping it around oiling it and seasoning it before tying it together.
- Tuck the wings under the chicken and rest the bird breast-side down. Massage about 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil on the back surface of the bird. Make sure the skin is evenly lubricated just enough for the salt and pepper to stick. Sprinkle about 1 to 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and ½ to 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper all over the back surface of the bird. Flip the bird over so that it’s breast-side up and massage about 1 tablespoon of olive oil all over the top of the bird. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and ½ to 1 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper all over the surface. Tie the ends of the legs together with string.
- Place the seasoned and tied bird into a foil-lined small roasting pan about 9×13″ or 11×14″. Arrange the remaining onion chunks, lemon halves, and quartered potatoes (if using) all around the bird. I like to use the lemon wedges to support all four corners of the chicken, but you don’t have to do this. It’s all going to cook down and create a delicious sauce anyway, so no need to be OCD about it. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil all over the potatoes and onions just to moisten them slightly, about 1 tablespoon in total — we don’t want it too greasy. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Peel the remaining garlic and scatter it all over the lemon, onions and potatoes mixture.
- Roast the chicken on the middle oven rack for about 1 hour and 15 to 25 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer registers 160 degrees for the breast meat, and 175 degrees for the thigh/leg meat, rotating the pan just once halfway thru the cooking time. Juices should run clear. Make sure you rotate the pan once after the first 35 to 40 minutes while its roasting for even cooking. Please be careful not to overcook or undercook the chicken. Every oven and every bird will be different. The larger the bird, the longer it will take to cook so please keep this in mind. If you don’t have a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bird, make a small cut between the thigh and leg meat — if the juices are clear, it’s ready. If you see any pink, it needs more time. It’s best to pierce and test the dark meat because it has a lesser chance of drying out than the white breast meat.
- Once the chicken is fully roasted, remove it from the pan, tilting it so the juices inside the bird run back into the roasting pan. Allow the chicken to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, remove the potatoes, onions, and lemon halves from the pan and set aside. You have all of this marvelous chicken, garlic and meyer lemon juice mixture with a little starch from the potatoes (if you used them) leftover. Skim off any ridiculous amounts of fat from the juices. You can turn the juices into an actual pan sauce if you’d like, but we’re keeping it old-school and using them as is.
- Remove the bamboo skewer and lemons/garlic/onion stuffed inside the bird. Carve the chicken and serve with the potatoes and onions on the side, and drizzle a little of the lemon-garlicky pan drippings over the chicken before eating.
For a bird larger than 4lbs, the cooking time will vary.