Ina Garten has a way with chicken and lemons. We previously tried another of Ina’s recipes using lemons and chicken, and we really liked it. So we figured we would probably also enjoy this “Lemon Chicken with Croutons” recipe from her “Barefoot in Paris” cookbook. We were even more interested in this dish because it uses a whole chicken (great to have for leftovers), and Ina refers to it as “the essence of French country cooking.” Adding homemade croutons and roasted onions to the mix doesn’t hurt either.
The ingredients are simple: a roasting chicken, a yellow onion, olive oil, lemons, butter, bread and salt & pepper.
Cut the onion into 1/2 moon slices.
Place the onions in the bottom of a roasting pan and toss them with a little olive oil.
Prepare the chicken by taking out the giblets (ew), rinsing it inside and out…
…and removing any excess fat. (In this chicken’s case, A LOT of excess fat.)
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
Then tie the legs together with kitchen twine (Dan started the twine at the top of the bird and pulled 2 strings back to tie together the legs) and tuck the wing tips under the chicken’s body. Place the chicken on top of the onions. Cut the lemons into quarters, put a few inside the bird and place the rest in the roasting pan with the onions.
Melt the butter, and if you like, add some dried thyme or other herbs that you prefer.
Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter. (Kitchen tip — we love these silicone basting brushes. They work great, come in several sizes and are really easy to clean.)
Generously sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Roast it in the oven preheated to 425 degrees for about 1 & 1/2 hours.
Take a peek about halfway through the cooking process to see how the chicken is starting to brown nicely. So are the onions. At this halfway point, Dan used a big spoon to baste the chicken with some of the juices accumulating in the bottom of the roasting pan.
Cut the bread into 3/4 inch cubes.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet until it is very hot.
Add the bread cubes to the skillet and lower the heat to medium-low.
Saute the bread, tossing frequently, until the cubes are browned all over — about 8-10 minutes.
Chicken is done. Although some of the onions may look burned, they still taste delicious.
Cover the chicken with foil in the roasting pan and allow it to rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
Sprinkle the croutons with salt and pepper.
Cut up the chicken and serve the pieces over the croutons with the roasted onions. We loved the combination of lemony and juicy chicken, crunchy and buttery croutons and carmelized onions. Although this dish is better for a weekend since it takes a while to cook, it’s worth it for the leftovers, which you could use in BBQ Chicken Salad, Chicken Nachos or Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, just to name a few possibilities.