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Slow Roasted Lemon Garlic Chicken

Asked by ayeshahalam. Answered on 25th September 2012

Full question

Hello! I tried making Slow Roasted Lemon Garlic Chicken (from Forever Summer) for dinner yesterday and usually all of Nigella's recipes are easy and turn out delicious. But for this one the chicken and sauce were terribly bitter. I used limes instead of lemons so was wondering if it may be because of the rind from the lime? Would that have made a difference? If not what could have turned my dinner into such a disaster? Also I have a convection oven, how does that affect temperature and time? Thanks, Ayeshah.

Our answer

Both lemons and limes are from the citrus family and have very similar qualities and can be interchanged in many recipes. However limes tend to have a slightly more bitter note in the zest and pith and we suspect that this may be the source of the problem. We have also read reports that unfortunately some limes just taste bitter, partly depending on age and type, and this may be excaberated by the roasting process. For this particular dish it is probably worth sticking with lemons, as they are milder and all of the fruit is used. In baking, where the juice and small amounts of zest are used, you are more likely to be able to switch between the two.

There is also a small chance that the garlic cloves burned during the cooking, and burned garlic has a very bitter taste. If you are using a convection oven the temperature and timing can be different as convection ovens can cook more quickly than standard ovens. It is best to consult your oven handbook for guidance on adjustments, though usually the oven temperature is reduced by 20c/50F for a convection oven. It is also worth checking the chicken 5-10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, to see if it is already cooked through.

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