Mediterranean-Style Roasted Chicken

MEDITERRANEAN-STYLE ROASTED CHICKEN – 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 (3 to 5-pound) whole chicken
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon(s) finely snipped fresh basil or oregano leaves, or 1 to 2 teaspoon(s) dried basil or oregano, or a combination of each
  • 1 to 1½ teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning or to taste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sprigs of fresh basil and/or oregano and thin lemon slices for garnish

Lightly brush chicken with olive oil, coating well.  Place half of the basil or oregano (or combination), half of the garlic, and half of the lemon peel in the cavity of the chicken.  Secure wings behind chicken (akimbo-style).  Arrange chicken on a wire rack in a shallow roasting pan.  Sprinkle remaining basil and/or oregano, garlic, lemon peel, and all of the lemon pepper seasoning, if used, evenly over chicken.  Gradually pour lemon juice over chicken.   Bake, uncovered, in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for 1 to 1½ hours or until chicken is fork tender and golden brown.  Baste chicken frequently with pan juices while chicken is baking.

To serve, carve chicken into slices and pieces; arrange chicken pieces on a warmed platter or individual plates.  Garnish with sprigs of basil and/or oregano and thin lemon slices.

Grilling Instructions: Prepare chicken as previously directed for oven roasting.  Place chicken on a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil on a grill rack in a barbecue grill, set at the highest level, above slow charcoal (very ash gray and glowing) or at the low setting of a gas grill; bring foil up slightly around chicken.  Cover and grill for about 1 to 1½  hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from bone or fat, registers 170 degrees F., basting chicken frequently during grilling as previously directed for oven roasting.  (Add more charcoal as needed, warming first at the edge of the barbecue firebox.)  (If cover is unavailable with grill or will not close tightly, loosely cover grill with heavy-duty aluminum foil.)  Allow chicken to stand at room temperature for several minutes and then carve.  Serve and garnish as previously directed.

Variation: Omit lemon pepper seasoning and basil and/or oregano.  Sprinkle chicken with 1 to 2  tablespoon(s) finely snipped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary.

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