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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 teaspoon sea salt flakes or ½ teaspoon fine flowing salt
  • 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
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or ½ teaspoon fine flowing salt

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/140°C Fan/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 and sprinkle over the sea salt flakes, 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/180°C Fan/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/140°C Fan/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 and sprinkle over the kosher salt, 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/180°C Fan/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 35 Others have said

  • I made this delicious slow roast chicken recipe yesterday and it went down a treat. Everyone enjoyed it very much. Cooking the chicken slowly with the lemon, garlic with thyme, and wine was very moist and the taste of garlic and lemon came through beautifully. Thank you for the recipe, will make this dish again and again for sure.

    Posted by Jasu Kishan on 29th April 2019
  • My mother had just passed away and I started as I have always by raiding her freezer like I was when I first moved out and of course got a bag of chicken out first. I have been waiting to do this recipe forever and oh my gosh! I will say that I did add fresh mushrooms and onions in the beginning and fresh Brussels sprouts at the end at the higher temp. This was such comfort food! As I was savoring every bite I kept thinking that my mother would of loved this and wished she could have had it with me. And she was - in my heart! Thanks for bringing these awesome meals and memories to us!!

    Posted by whoneycat on 20th March 2019
  • This recipe has become a staple at my house! Easy to make, delicious and makes the house smell like heaven!

    Posted by Philomeno on 4th December 2018
  • I’ve made this several times and it’s moist and delicious. It’s become a favourite recipe

    Posted by Legs111 on 22nd November 2018
  • Lovely recipe, made this loads! I like marinating the chicken with harissa paste beforehand, really tasty!

    Posted by MrsHGLS on 27th April 2018
  • I just cooked this delicious dish for my Passover Seder meal. I used chicken thighs and had to make a bit of extra sauce with wine and a spoonful of honey. It went down a treat. The soft lemon and garlic were perfect. The skin was golden and crispy, yum!

    Posted by Pip27 on 30th March 2018
  • One of the Best!!!!, I LOVE IT !!!

    Posted by MacaRodriguez on 27th March 2018
  • This is such a great dish. Easy, versatile and not much clean up. I can't believe it took me so long to make this- It's a great way to cook my organic pastured chickens that I buy! No worries about dry tough chicken that can easily happen with fresh pastured chicken.

    Posted by Kayna on 27th May 2017
  • 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
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