Absolutely the Best Roast Chicken recipe ever! Roast Mediterranean Lemon Butter Chicken blends fabulous Mediterranean flavors of garlic, lemon, cream, butter, shallots, thyme, artichokes and olives into a perfect chef worthy dish.
My most requested recipe on Two Cups of Health is, hands down, Mediterranean Lemon Butter Chicken. This wonderful recipe uses browned chicken thighs, artichokes, lemons and olives and is baked in the oven for 40 minutes. It’s easy, relatively fast and totally delicious. Every time.
So I was wondering if I could transport some of those wonderful tangy flavors into a Sunday chicken dinner.
Why This Roast Mediterranean Lemon Butter Chicken is Better Than the Rest
To be honest most people seem to add the flavoring of roasted chicken to the outside and call it Barbecued chicken, or Lemon Pepper chicken, or Tuscan Herb chicken. You know what I mean. Grocery stores sell those all the time. But when you take it home and get past the flavoring on the skin, all the chickens taste the same. No flavor at all or at best, just a hint of the outside flavoring. And worse, it’s usually way overcooked and dry.
You can overcome that problem by marinating it of course. Costco does that with their roasted chickens. I have to admit they are better than regular grocery store chickens. And it’s true, they are juicier but then again the only real flavoring you’re tasting is salt.
So what’s the answer to a flavorful perfect roast chicken without marinating it forever or even marinating it at all? Enter Roast Mediterranean Lemon Butter Chicken.
The flavor comes from the inside with salt, pepper, lemon, shallots and thyme. And it comes from the outside with salt, pepper, lemon olive oil (which I use religiously), smoked paprika and another sprinkling of more thyme.
Plus it roasts in a buttery garlic sauce with browned shallots plus the tang of green olives, artichokes and thinly sliced lemons. Those lemons cook so perfectly that you can eat them skin and all.
And the real plus of this dish is that as it bakes, the sauce gets creamier and the flavors combine perfectly. The result is a moist, absolutely flavorful chicken with every bite.
So let’s make it.
Ingredients of Roast Mediterranean Lemon Butter Chicken
- Lemon olive oil
- Smoked Paprika
- 1 Large Shallot sliced
- 2 small lemons
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1/2 cup Chicken Broth
- 1/4 cup fat free half and half
- 1 can artichokes
- 14 green olives
How to Make Roast Mediterranean Lemon Butter Chicken
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Then, begin with the sauce. Prep your shallots first by cutting them into 1/4” slices. Then over medium high heat, add 2 Tablespoons of butter into a frypan.
When the butter begins to melt, add in 2/3 of the sliced shallots and let them begin to brown for about 3 minutes. Then add in 2 cloves of garlic chopped. Let the butter, shallots and garlic cook about a minute. Don’t make it longer, because garlic can easily burn.
Then add in chicken broth and half and half.
Turn the heat to low and while it simmers, thinly slice a small lemon and add the slices to the sauce and then add the quartered artickoke hearts along with the olives. Finally add the sauce to a baking dish large enough to hold the chicken with a little room to spare. Leave the empty frypan out. You’ll need it later.
Next wash the chicken. There are two thoughts on whether to wash your chicken or not. Ina Garten says why bother because when the chicken is cooked all harmful things are gone.
Me? I go with the Julia Child method of always washing your meat or fish thoroughly before using. I just feel better about it. So whichever method you choose, always pat the meat dry before adding olive oil so the meat will brown better.
Add salt, pepper and thyme to the cavity of the chicken, then add a quartered small lemon. Truss by tucking the wings under the chicken and tying the legs together with string.
In the pan that you added your sauce, push the vegetables off to the perimeter around the pan and place the trussed chicken into the middle, on top of the sauce.
Then brush the chicken with lemon olive oil over the top and sides, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and thyme.
Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake uncovered for 90 minutes until the inside temperature reaches 165 degrees. Then remove from the oven, add the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
While the chicken rests, add the sauce to the the frypan and simmer on low.
Carve the chicken and add the pieces to a large platter. Add the warmed sauce and vegetables over the top and serve.
I absolutely love the frozen garlic pods you can buy at Trader Joe’s or at your local grocery store. Totally convenient and each chopped up garlic pod equals 1 garlic clove. This is a real time saver.
For this recipe, I used a 5 pound chicken.
I use fat free half and half for this recipe.
Chicken should always be cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees. But I’ll say for this recipe you can certainly cook it a bit longer until 175 degrees. The skin will continue to brown and because the chicken is cooked in it’s sauce, the meat will stay juicy.
Roast Mediterranean Lemon Butter Chicken
- roasting pan
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Large Shallot Sliced into 1/2” slices
- 2 Small Lemons Thinly slice one lemon and quarter the other lemon
- 2 Cloves Garlic Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
- 1/4 Cup Half and Half Fat Free
- 6 Artichoke hearts, canned Quartered
- 14 Green Olives
- 3/4 Tsp Thyme Dried
- 1 5 Pound Chicken
- 1/2 Tsp Lemon Olive Oil
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1/4 Tsp Pepper
- 1/4 Tsp Smoked Paprika
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Add butter to a frypan over medium high heat. When it begins to melt, add 2/3 of the sliced shallots and cook 3 minutes until shallots begin to brown. Then add in 2 chopped cloves of garlic. Cook only until garlic begins to slightly turn brown. Then add in the lemon slices. Stir in the chicken broth and the half and half. Finally, add the quartered artichokes and the olives. Pour sauce into a roasting dish large enough to hold the chicken. Push the vegetables off to the perimeter of the dish. (Reserve the frypan because you will use it later).
- Wash the chicken inside and out and pat dry. To the cavity add salt, pepper and 1/2 Tsp dried thyme. Add the last of the shallots. Then add the quartered lemon pieces. Truss the chicken by tucking the wings under and tying the legs together with string. Place the trussed chicken in the pan and brush with lemon olive oil (regular olive oil can substitute). Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, thyme and smoked paprika.
- Place in the preheated oven and roast for 1 1/2 hours. Test the chicken with a thermometer For maximum safety the temperature should register a minimum of 165. When chicken is done remove the dish from the oven and place the chicken on a cutting board. Cover the chicken with foil and let it rest 10 minutes. Pour the sauce back into a frypan and turn the heat on medium to keep warm and further thicken the sauce a bit.
- Carve the chicken and place the pieces on a large platter. Pour the sauce and vegetables over the top and serve.