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Slow Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken

by . Featured in NIGELLA SUMMER
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Introduction

This is one of those recipes you just can't make once: that's to say, after the first time, you're hooked. It is gloriously easy: you just put everything in the roasting dish and leave it to cook in the oven, pervading the house, at any time of year, with the summer scent of lemon and thyme - and of course, mellow, almost honeyed garlic. I got the idea of it from those long-cooked French chicken casseroles with whole garlic cloves and just wanted to spritz it up with lemon for summer. The wonderful thing about it is that you turn the lemon from being a flavouring to being a major player; left in chunks to cook slowly in the oven they seem almost to caramelise and you can eat them, skin, pith and all, their sour bitterness sweetened in the heat.

This is one of those recipes you just can't make once: that's to say, after the first time, you're hooked. It is gloriously easy: you just put everything in the roasting dish and leave it to cook in the oven, pervading the house, at any time of year, with the summer scent of lemon and thyme - and of course, mellow, almost honeyed garlic. I got the idea of it from those long-cooked French chicken casseroles with whole garlic cloves and just wanted to spritz it up with lemon for summer. The wonderful thing about it is that you turn the lemon from being a flavouring to being a major player; left in chunks to cook slowly in the oven they seem almost to caramelise and you can eat them, skin, pith and all, their sour bitterness sweetened in the heat.

Slow Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 4-6

Metric Cups
  • 1 chicken (approx. 2.25kg / 4½lbs) cut into 10 pieces
  • 1 bulb of garlic (separated into unpeeled cloves)
  • 2 unwaxed lemons (preferably thin-skinned) - cut into chunky eighths
  • 1 handful fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 150 millilitres white wine
  • black pepper
  • 1 chicken (approx. 2.25kg / 4½lbs) cut into 10 pieces
  • 1 head of garlic (separated into unpeeled cloves)
  • 2 unwaxed lemons (preferably thin-skinned) - cut into chunky eighths
  • 1 handful fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅔ cup white wine
  • black pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3/325ºF.
  2. Put the chicken pieces into a roasting tin and add the garlic cloves, lemon chunks and the thyme; just roughly pull the leaves off the stalks, leaving some intact for strewing over later. Add the oil and using your hands mix everything together, then spread the mixture out, making sure all the chicken pieces are skin side up.
  3. Sprinkle over the white wine and grind on some pepper, then cover tightly with foil and put in the oven to cook, at flavour-intensifyingly low heat, for 2 hours.
  4. Remove the foil from the roasting tin, and turn up the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF. Cook the uncovered chicken for another 30-45 minutes, by which time the skin on the meat will have turned golden brown and the lemons will have begun to scorch and caramelise at the edges.
  5. I like to serve this as it is, straight from the roasting tin: so just strew with your remaining thyme and dole out.
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3/325ºF.
  2. Put the chicken pieces into a roasting tin and add the garlic cloves, lemon chunks and the thyme; just roughly pull the leaves off the stalks, leaving some intact for strewing over later. Add the oil and using your hands mix everything together, then spread the mixture out, making sure all the chicken pieces are skin side up.
  3. Sprinkle over the white wine and grind on some pepper, then cover tightly with foil and put in the oven to cook, at flavour-intensifyingly low heat, for 2 hours.
  4. Remove the foil from the roasting tin, and turn up the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF. Cook the uncovered chicken for another 30-45 minutes, by which time the skin on the meat will have turned golden brown and the lemons will have begun to scorch and caramelise at the edges.
  5. I like to serve this as it is, straight from the roasting tin: so just strew with your remaining thyme and dole out.

Tell us what you think

What 27 Others have said

  • This really is such a great roast chicken dish. Simple and delicious - make sure you try it!

    Posted by sgill on 22nd August 2016
  • made this on a recent NY snow day...had all the ingredients and was so pleasantly surprised...easy and amazing! the white meat leftovers were delicious over a cold green salad along with the chunks of lemon (and I dressed it with a bit of homemade cranberry chutney and olive oil)....will definitely make again!

    Posted by christymed on 27th January 2016
  • I made this yesterday and I used Meyer lemons, and I added Brussel sprouts during the last part of the cooking and this was to die for!!!!!!! This is my new favorite dish. I have been telling everyone one about it! Its an easy dish to make but the taste is so sophisticated. I love, love, love this recipe. Thank you for posting it.

    Posted by gogiyms on 13th January 2016
  • Absolutely love this recipe. I like adding a few new potatoes. Bearing in mind that Jerusalem Artichokes are now in season I added some for the last half an hour, goes very well together.

    Posted by sigrun.isdal on 16th November 2015
  • I love how it's so easy to make and yet looks so posh when it's finished. It's very delicious too! The glazed lemon, the softened garlic and the chicken all are so yummy!

    Posted by Putra on 25th August 2015
  • Made this last night for some friends for a special dinner. It was amazingly delicious. We did not like the lemon skin but the beautifully glazed pulp was beautiful with the chicken. Will be making again for sure

    Posted by judypies on 3rd August 2015
  • I have made this dish many times, it's great for taking on picnics as it is good eaten cold as well....

    Posted by lemon22 on 5th July 2015
  • I have made this a few times and everyone loves it. Now passing it on to a friend.

    Posted by Jessiec on 8th May 2015
  • Just made this, added potatoes and some extra Cajun spices! Wow!! Would try in the slow cooker but I know it won't be the same! Thanks for a great recipe

    Posted by L'MoChef on 9th May 2015
  • Wow, what a treat. Made this for the first time for tonight's supper. Big hit. As the liquid was very thin I just reduced it down and it was fantastic. Thanks Nigella!????

    Posted by suziesu on 2nd April 2015
  • I made this recipe during the holidays and everyone went for seconds! I had prepared the chicken dish the day before, then cooked my potatoes in the wonderful juicy broth just before dinner the next day, returning the chicken to the dish just long enough to warm it up. (I was afraid of overcooking the chicken.) I'm making it again tonight just for 'moi', and why not, it is so simple to throw together, but the next time I make it for company, I will definitely plan on more than I normally would for the number of guests. This dish is so good, people can't stop eating!

    Posted by celebryson on 7th January 2015
  • I sprinkled some brown sugar over the top before cooking. No bitter taste from the lemon. Delicious!!!!!

    Posted by beth.shaw on 21st August 2014
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