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Pan Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Velvet sauce

  • Category: Main Dish, Poultry
  • Submitted By: Isaac Owsley
  • Town/State: Sonora, CA
  • Serves: 4 – 5
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Cooking time: 1 hour (2 hours if you use a roasting hen)

Very simple to make, this is a delicious take on the classic roasted chicken which was a traditional staple for a Sunday supper. Whether served over simple steamed white rice or rosemary roasted potatoes the lemon velvet sauce is a deliciously tart accompaniment that compliments yet counters the savory moist and tender chicken.

If you can, use Meyer lemons for this recipe as they are a wonderful but short lived part of the citrus season. Slightly sweeter than normal lemons, Meyers are a hybrid of a lemon and tangerine which originated in China as an ornamental tree and found its way over to the US via an enterprising USDA employee named -You guessed it, Frank Meyer.

If you aren’t lucky enough to find this variety in the store or have a friend who has a Meyer lemon tree, then you can get suitable results from ordinary lemons or by mixing in the zest and juice of 1 tangerine to normal lemon juice and zest, I don’t recommend using bottled lemon juice as it can be unpleasantly bitter. Either way, the results are absolutely delicious if you use fresh ingredients.

Amount Measure Ingredients
4 – 6 lbs whole chicken (use a large fryer or a roasting hen)
2 tablespoon clarified butter
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup lemon juice (approx 4 large lemons) (use Meyer lemons for best results)
1/4 cup tangerine juice (about 1 tangerine) if not using Meyer lemons
2 teaspoon lemon zest (this is the aromatic outer peel of the lemon)
1 teaspoon tangerine zest (again if not using Meyer lemons)
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup lemon peel
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoon sugar
    Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoon cornstarch in ½ cup cold water
2 tablespoon flour whisked into ¼ cup cold water

To prepare:

Split the chicken down the back with kitchen shears and flatten out, season both sides with salt, pepper and celery salt. Heat a large, heavy skillet over moderately high heat and add in the butter and olive oil until shimmering hot. Place the chicken breast side down into the pan and brown 5-7 minutes then turn over and sear other side.

Add in 1 cup of water and cover to simmer, meanwhile heat the chicken broth in a sauce pan with the soy sauce, lemon peel and saffron. Bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes then strain out the lemon peel. Add in the citrus juice, onion powder and crushed garlic, adjusting for salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes then using a hand blender puree so that the garlic is well mixed into the sauce, add the sugar and zest then thicken with the cornstarch and flour roux.

Let thicken slightly then add the sauce to the pan with the chicken cover and simmer 30 minutes basting the chicken occasionally with the sauce. Chicken will be done if you pierce the thickest part of the chicken such as the breast or thigh with a knife and the juices run clear (no pink). Serve piping hot over rice or roasted red potatoes and enjoy!