Simple food, prepared with care, is good eating. When it comes to roasted chicken this rule almost always applies. As fall and winter approach, I yearn for my lemon and herb roasted chicken. It's easy. It's comforting. It makes us happy.
Arrange this chicken in a pan, add some spices, a drizzle of olive oil and pop it in the oven. The spices give the chicken a boost of Mediterranean flavor. The addition of lemon, parsley and Aleppo pepper at the end cuts through the richness of the crispy skin and lend a fresh tartness and a mild peppery kick.
I often curl up on my comfy couch with a good book while the chicken is cooking, intoxicating aromas fill the house. In about an hour it's done. I'm happy being a couch potato on brisk fall evenings, especially when I know a homey dinner awaits us. I roast a little bit of unseasoned chicken for our sweet beagle too. It's her favorite treat... next to hamburgers. Yes, I even cook for the dog, lucky gal.
Roasted chicken is one of my husband's favorite meals. He loves it with either a baguette or a baked potato and a crisp salad tossed with a light lemon-olive oil dressing.
|Ground Aleppo Pepper|
Aleppo pepper is a mild chili pepper that is popular in the Middle East. It's pictured above: http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/crushed-aleppo-pepper
If you live near Boston, you can find the best Aleppo pepper at Sevan's Middle Eastern Market. http://www.sevanboston.com/
You can add a few whole peeled garlic cloves to the pan before roasting too. Depending on my mood, I either add them or leave them out. The garlic becomes soft and mellow in the oven and is good smeared on the chicken or on a piece of crusty bread.
If you don't have aleppo pepper used fresh cracked black pepper instead.
You can also use bone-in chicken breasts for a healthier option.
Serve this chicken with my easy, sea salt and olive oil oven-roasted potatoes http://jillyinspired.blogspot.com/2012/08/humble-potatoes-well-almost.html or some crusty bread. My Vibrant, Fresh Chopped Middle Eastern salad with lemon and herbs is a nice addition too. http://jillyinspired.blogspot.com/2012/11/crisp-and-crunchy-middle-eastern.html
- 1 package of chicken legs, about 10 or so.
- 1 package of chicken wings. (You can also do this with bone-in chicken breasts in place of the legs and wings for a healthier option and for those who prefer white meat.)
- Olive oil, a few tablespoons. I used extra virgin, unfiltered
- Dried oregano about a teaspoon or more. I use Penzeys Turkish oregano.
- Italian Seasoning, about tablespoon
- 1 large lemon
- Fresh parsley, torn or chopped
- Sea salt or kosher salt
- Aleppo chili pepper (optional but very good, see notes)
- Whole peeled garlic cloves (optional, see notes)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil into two deep oven safe baking dishes.
- Rinse chicken and pat dry.
- Place chicken in the pans and add the dried oregano and Italian seasonings that you rub between your fingers to release their flavor. Add some salt. Toss everything. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 350. Check. You may need to rotate the pans. Increase the heat to 375. Continue roasting for another 30-40 minutes until the chicken is golden brown and no longer pink in the center. Do not dry it out by over roasting.
- Take the pans out of the oven as the chicken is cooked. One pan may be cooking faster than the other. Let the chicken rest after it's cooked for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with some Aleppo pepper(if using), more dried oregano, fresh parsley and a squeeze or two of lemon.
- Alternately, you can serve lemon slices atop the chicken for a festive presentation or serve each person a wedge of lemon with their chicken.