Lemon and Garlic Whole Chicken

It’s no secret that I am a working mom.  It is something I am deeply proud of.  I love being a lawyer, just as I love being a mom.  But most nights, I do not get home until 7:00.  If I start making a full dinner from scratch once I get home, we typically don’t sit down to eat until after 8:00.  As much I’d love to tell you that I pre-plan our weekday meals, that would be a lie.  There are weeks where I am great.  There are lots of weeks where I am not.

I am not a fan of take-out or even eating out in general.  It’s expensive.  It’s not as healthy.  And I usually end up feeling disappointed for overindulging or because of the quality of the food for the price.  Plus two little boys in a restaurant can be exhausting. We try to avoid it whenever possible.

So on nights when we haven’t planned dinner, our go-to meal is a rotisserie chicken.  The boys love it.  It’s not ridiculously overpriced. It’s not wholly unhealthy. But like most things, I’d prefer to make it myself than buy a premade meal.  Of course, there is no way I’d have time to roast a whole chicken on a weekday.  But I still wanted to try out a homemade version.  So last weekend, Maxie and I picked up a raw chicken and decided to make our own rotisserie chicken of sorts.

Lemon is the perfect summer flavor.  It’s a fairly easy fruit to cook with and they never go to waste. You can just toss them into a glass of water.  Lately, I’ve been trying to keep fresh lemons on hand so beyond the raw chicken, we had all the other ingredients on hand, which is a win for me.  Recipes with obscure ingredients, that requires tons of prep and steps, are largely a turn-off for me.  This recipe is just simple ingredients with easy steps.  It turned out really good–although I may season the body of the chicken with lemon next time so the lemon flavor is a bit bolder.  But either way, this recipe goes into our “make again” list.


  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 4 lemons, cut in half
  • 3 heads garlic, cut 1/2 crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 5 strips of bacon
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Remove the inside organs and wash chicken in cold water.  Pat dry and liberally apply salt and pepper all over the chicken body.
  3. Slice two lemons in half.  Stuff the lemons, a handful of thyme, and two garlic halves into the body of the chicken.  Cover the chicken with butter.
Maxie was all about stuffing the chicken.
We did this step several times because Maxie had fun stuffing and unstuffing the chicken 🙂

4. If you have it, tie the legs of the chicken together with kitchen string.  I didn’t have any so I just tucked them under so the items instead wouldn’t fall out (I later learned that I cooked the chicken upside down. But it didn’t seem to make any difference in taste). Place chicken into a roasting pan.  Sprinkle the remaining lemons and garlic around the chicken.

5. Lay the bacon over the top of the chicken and create a little bacon blanket. Then pop the chicken into the oven for an hour.

6. After an hour, remove the bacon from the chicken and set aside.  Cook chicken for an additional half hour. Remove the chicken and place on plate and cover to remain warm.

7.  Create the gravy-combine 2 tablespoons of the fat from the bottom of the pan with the wine and chicken broth in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let simmer until the gravy reduces by half.

8. Top chicken with thyme as garnish for serving.  Slice, top with gravy, and enjoy!

all about his chicken.

Source: Ina Garten

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