This roast chicken with citrus is made by stuffing a whole chicken with orange, lemon, garlic, and herbs and then roasting it until the skin is crisp and the meat infused with the lilt of citrus. Simple and elegant.
Is This Orange Chicken?
This isn’t the sort of orange chicken that you find on Chinese takeout menus that comprises battered and fried chicken chunks drenched in a gloppy, cloying sauce. This is the sort of orange chicken that’s an easy, aromatic riff on roast chicken with lemon that will have both you and your family clamoring for it again. No lie. And unlike its sadly Americanized Chinese counterpart, it’s bathed in a smooth, silken pan sauce. The recipe makes a gracious plenty of the thin, lighter-than-gravy pan sauce, so spoon it over rice, potatoes, polenta, or whatever you choose to serve on the side.
Roasted Chicken with Citrus
- Quick Glance
- 40 M
- 2 H, 40 M
- Serves 4
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Pat the chicken dry inside and out. Season the inside with 2 teaspoons salt and the pepper. Place as many of the orange and lemon quarters, garlic cloves, and herb sprigs in the cavity as will fit. Cross the legs one over the other or tie them together with kitchen string to hold the contents inside. Tuck the wings underneath the chicken as if it was putting its arms behind its head. Squeeze a lemon quarter over the the chicken and rub the juice into the skin, then sprinkle the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt.
Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Toss any remaining orange and lemon quarters, garlic, and herb sprigs in the pan. Roast until the chicken’s juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a fork or an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F (71°C) when inserted into the thickest part of a thigh, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on the size. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
While the chicken rests, pour 1 cup stock into the roasting pan and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Strain the pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a saucepan and place over low heat. Add the butter and the remaining 3 cups stock and swirl the pan gently until the butter melts. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the flour over the liquid and whisk until it dissolves and the juices have thickened a little, 3 to 5 minutes. If a thicker sauce is desired, sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons flour, or more as needed, and whisk again.
Squeeze the juice from the orange and lemon quarters into the pan and cook, stirring, until the juices have thickened a little more and are glossy, about 5 minutes. The pan sauce should be thinner than a gravy and just lightly coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the chopped thyme. Taste and adjust the seasoning. (You’ll have ample pan sauce, but it’s lovely spooned over rice or potatoes or virtually anything else you can think to put on the same plate as this citrus roast chicken.)
Carve the roast chicken and arrange on a platter. Serve with the warm juices on the side.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This roast chicken will make you a star with very little fuss or time. I really enjoyed this recipe, as did my entire extended family. Filling the cavity with citrus and herbs lent itself to a very flavorful and wholesome roast chicken. This roast chicken is a definite winner and will be a regular on my table whenever I need to impress friends or family.
I’d suggest using a bit less chicken stock unless you’ll be making 2 chickens or wish to have some for a later meal. You’ll probably need 2 to 3 tablespoons of flour, if you do make 4 cups of pan sauce. You may wish to make the sauce in a skillet over a large burner to help it thicken faster.
Somehow the title of this recipe just doesn’t do it justice, as it’s one of the best roast chicken recipes I’ve ever made or eaten. It took me a very long time to find this roast chicken recipe and my poor husband had to endure some embarrassingly rubbery (not cooked enough) and/or rubbery and dry (overcooked) dinners. Finally I found a method from Patricia Wells, and it was the gold standard by which all other recipes were judged, until now.
This recipe is easy and required no exotic ingredients. The instructions are straightforward. I used a 4 1/2-pound kosher chicken and didn’t brine it first. The sauce was easy to make but it did make a very large quantity. I think the amount could be reduced by half and there’d be plenty. The bird was moist and well seasoned with just a hint of citrus. Loved it! The sauce was tasty again with the citrus being subtle but adding great flavor. We’ve a new winner.
By the way, since there are only two of us we had leftovers. The sauce, thinned with water, made a fantastic base for chicken soup with miniature dumplings. An added bonus!