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Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Caramelized Onions & Apples

This image courtesy of Olivia Brent

This is a perfect roast chicken dish made absolutely fabulous by strategic roasting. Setting the oven at a high temperature to start ensures über-crispy skin and moist meat, while placing the onions and apples on the pan in a single layer and taking care to leave space, results in a perfectly roasted counterpart to the chicken. Those little air pockets create heat traps that brown and char both the onions and apples in the rendered chicken fat. making them irresistible.

NotesSUGGESTED VARIETIES: Any apple that can hold up to the heat without breaking down is preferred here. Try Pink Lady. Golden Delicious, or Braeburn.

Serves4

Cooking Methodroasting

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner

Taste and Textureherby, savory

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
  • One 4- to 5-pound whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 medium apples, cut into 1-inch dice (see Notes)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add the salt, pepper, lemon zest, and thyme. Add the chicken, toss to combine, and let marinate on the counter for at least 1 hour before cooking. You can also hold the chicken in the fridge for up to a day.

  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

  3. Put the onions and apples on a large rimmed sheet pan, spreading them into a single layer and leaving space between them. Place the seasoned chicken pieces directly on top of the onions and apples, making sure they do not touch or overlap.

  4. Put the sheet pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Without opening the oven door, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 30 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and crisp. After the chicken has been roasting for 45 minutes, check the pan every 15 minutes through the oven door; if the onions along the edges are turning too dark, stir as needed (moving the dark onions to the center of the pan, where the heat is cooler) and redistribute the chicken pieces into a single layer before returning to the oven.

  5. After it's finished cooking let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving platter and then spoon on the onions and apples, scraping up all of the brown bits. Garnish with a pinch of fresh thyme if desired. Serve immediately.

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I made this for dinner tonight. I must admit that I messed up...although I checked the chicken after 30 minutes, I forgot to lower the temperature!! I realized it when I went to shut the oven off. Nonetheless, it was quite good, but would have been even better if I had lowered the temp to 350! There was definitely a lemony taste to the chicken. The apples and onions were good but I would have liked more of them. Diced potatoes would make a fantastic addition...a one "pot" meal! I will definitely make this again, the proper way I hope!

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