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Greek Roast Chicken With Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon And Lemon Potatoes ©

April 22, 2012


This is an all time favorite with everyone, especially my family and just the thing for Sunday lunch!

It can be prepared before hand and kept in the fridge, but remember to remove from the fridge and bring to room temperature, about 1/2 hr, before cooking.


Oven Temperature:  240.C

Turn Down to 200 after half an hour

Cooking Time 1.5- 2  hours


1 Roasting Chicken prepared by the butcher

1 large onion for  chicken cavity

4 Cloves

2 large onions cut into wedges

2-4 cloves garlic

Juice of 2 large lemons

Salt ( at least 2 tsp,) freshly ground pepper

3-4 tbs Olive oil

A little butter to dot on the chicken breast

Sprigs of fresh/dried Rosemary, Thyme and Tarragon

1/2 cup of water to be added during cooking


Pre-heat oven 1/4 hr before cooking. * All ovens are a little different. Meat should be placed into a hot pre-heated oven to seal the outer part of the meat quickly. This helps it retain it’s juices. You can then turn it down, once the fat starts to bubble. Regulate your oven so you can hear and see a constant roasting sound.

1. Ask butcher to prepare Chicken. This involves chopping off the neck tip, wing tips, leg ends. Cutting back the skin around the neck.

2. Here in Greece we always thoroughly wash the chicken under the running tap.

3. Remove any Giblets, ( Liver, Heart, Sometimes Neck, ) that may be in the cavity in a plastic bag.Check that the inside is perfectly clean. If there is excess fat, I cut it away and I make sure to wash well around the neck area. Neck and heart can be used for stock, liver can be well washed, cut away any green bile stain and place in roasting tin. Liver can also be saved to make liver pâte.

4. Place in suitable roasting tin. Peel large onion and pierce with 4 cloves. Rub inside cavity with salt and pepper and place onion inside.

5. Squeeze  lemons and pour juice over  the chicken and into cavity. If it fits place half the squeezed lemon peel into the cavity as well.

6. Peel garlic, place two cloves in cavity and the rest around the chicken.Place the herbs as far as possible into the cavity and a little around the neck opening.

7. Peel rest of onions and cut into wedges, place around chicken.

8. Truss or tie bird tightly together using trussing string. (See photographs.)

9. Pour over chicken generously with olive oil and dot the breast with a little butter.

10. Sprinkle with salt, 2-3 tsp and freshly ground pepper.

Roast Lemon Potatoes

1. Peel potatoes and cut into the approximate size of a Lime, or the Greek way into quarters cut long ways, potato-wedges.

2. Reserve in a bowl of water, until ready to cook, so that they do not brown. ( With in 1/2 an hour, out of water, potatoes discolor.)

3. When ready to add to chicken and start cooking, pour off the water, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Arrange potatoes around chicken and place in pre-heated oven.The potatoes, because they are cooking in lemon juice and a little water, take longer to brown, and they don’t over cook, because they need to become dark brown and almost caramelized.

5. After 1/2 an hour, check to see if breast is browning. When it is, I usually turn my chicken over and when the under side is brown  onto its sides, finishing up with a final roasting, breast side up.This way the chicken stays really moist. The classic way is not to turn it and to ‘Baste’ the chicken every half an hour  with the surrounding juices and cover the breast with a little tin foil, so that it does not become too brown. The latter is the easier way, for first time cooks…..

6. During the cooking, add 1/2 cup of water or more to keep the potatoes from sticking and burning.

N.B. Greek roast potatoes are not like the English kind, which are roasted only in fat. The Greek kind absorb all the juices of the chicken, the lemon, brown and are softer with a few crispy parts at the extremities and wonderfully lemony!

Culinary Term

TRUSS : This is a procedure where by you tie the chicken together with trussing string and needle to make the bird look more presentable, but also to stop it from drying out.

Peel onion and pierce with cloves.

Pour over squeezed lemon juice and into the chicken cavity too.

Sprinkle chicken generously with salt and pepper all over and inside.

Cut your sprigs of fresh herbs from your herb garden, or use dried herbs.

Fill cavity of chicken with onion and cloves, 1/2 lemon peel, 2 garlic cloves and herbs.

Tie or “Truss” Chicken with trussing string. ( see special ‘Trussing’ Lesson under ‘Special Lessons,’)

First tie legs together, then wings.

Tie wings.

Drizzle generously with olive oil.

Chicken ready for roasting…..just the potatoes to add!

Chicken surrounded by onions cut into wedges.

Roast Lemon Potatoes  

Choose nice even sized potatoes.

Peel and cut into even sizes. Here I have cut them in half.

Pour water off,sprinkle with salt, 2 tsp, and drizzle with olive oil.

In this photograph you can see the two different ways to cut the potatoes.

Final result !   ( Remove trussing string before serving. ) The potatoes should be almost caramelized !

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Nick permalink
    April 22, 2012 11:29 am

    Can’t wait to have it for lunch!


  2. April 22, 2012 1:17 pm

    I always roast my chickens ‘Greek-style”, but the cloves in the onion, and the thyme and tarragon are new to me. I will definitely try them next time I roast. It looks absolutely delicious. Thank you!


    • April 22, 2012 1:42 pm

      Oh thank you! I have just been making a few adjustments……that will make you peal with laughter as you peel your vegetables ah ha ha :):):) xxx
      Yes those are my additions. Cloves are the English way and cut the chickeny smell. Tarragon and thyme go so well with chicken……


  3. John permalink
    April 24, 2012 9:54 am

    My favourite… Especially with your tarragon+lemon+butter+cream sauce


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