Herb-Rubbed Roast Chicken



Sharing the Table at Garland's Lodge

Published by Garland's Oak Creek Lodge

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

It took a new convection oven and a few years of working with it to realize we could now roast chicken for fifty people at a time. (Catherine Todd must be smiling down from the Red Rocks of Heaven, Mary notes). The Lemon Herb Vinaigrette is one of our all purpose sauces. It comes together very quickly and is great with chicken, fish or grilled veggies. I personally like it with steak and lamb too!

NotesThe main herb in this should be the Italian parsley with smaller portions of basil and/or fennel and mint. It can be made with all parsley. Curly parsley is really not an acceptable substitute. We rarely use it at the Lodge.

Cooking Methodroasting


Total Timea day or more

OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Equipmentfood mill


Taste and Texturecreamy, crisp, garlicky, herby, meaty, savory, tangy, tart, winey

Type of Dishdry rub


  • 4 three-and-a-half- to four-and-a-half-pound chickens, preferably “naturally raised”
  • olive oil to brush the chickens
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 2 tablespoons sage
  • 2 tablespoons marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • zest of 1 orange
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ¾ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup coarse pepper
  • 1 + ½ cups lightly packed fresh Italian parsley, basil, mint and/or fennel (see note at end of recipe)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dry thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 cups dry white wine
  • 4 cups rich chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small bundle fresh thyme
  • 2 small sprigs fresh sage
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, to taste


  1. Make the herb rub: Lightly toast the dry herbs and zests in a small skillet over medium low heat. Do not burn! Partially grind the herb/zest mixture in a spice mill and mix with the salt and pepper.

    On day one: Rinse the chickens inside and out and pat dry. Brush with a very little olive oil, then lightly dust the birds inside and out with the rub. Cover and save extra rub for the following day. Refrigerate overnight, uncovered.

    The next afternoon: Preheat the oven to 425° degrees. Take the chickens from the fridge and give them another all-over dusting of rub. Tuck the wing tips under and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Arrange in an oiled roasting pan with the legs pointing inward towards the center of the pan. Roast in the hot oven for 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350° and roast for 35 to 45 minutes more, till a lovely crispy golden brown. The chicks are done when the drumsticks move freely in their sockets. Take from the oven and set aside to rest for 15 minutes. Carve the drumsticks, and breast and wing off the body of the bird. Serve a drum and thigh, breast and wing per person with warm Lemon Herb Vinaigrette or Mushroom Thyme Sauce. There will be leftovers, which are delicious the next day, or freeze for a later use.

    Lemon Herb Vinaigrette: Combine the mix of herbs, garlic, and green onion in a food processor. Pulse 3 or 4 times to blend slightly. Add one cup of oil and blend. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend again. Add the broth with the machine running, then add the remaining oil slowly. Add ¼ cup of juice, one teaspoon of salt, a few grinds of fresh pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Blend and taste. Add more lemon and salt and pepper if needed. This should be a nice light emulsion. Transfer to a small double boiler to warm gently. Makes about 3 to 4 cups. Keeps two weeks in the fridge, but loses its bright green color when heated.

    Mushroom Thyme Sauce: Heat the olive oil in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper and sweat until juicy, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat a bit and sauté until the veggies begin to brown. Add the wine and reduce by half Add the stock and reduce again by half, add the cream and reduce until the sauce thickens and becomes slightly shiny about 5 minutes. Strain the sauce into a clean saucepan, pressing very well on the solids to work out all the liquid.

  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and a little salt and pepper and cover to sweat for a minute or two. Uncover and add about 2 tablespoons of thyme leaves. Chop the sage leaves and add. Cook over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the mushrooms to the sauce, along with a touch of lemon juice. Taste and add more if you like, plus more salt and pepper if needed.


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