Don’t really have a good introduction to this recipe – I just had a few lemons and ginger at home, and I remembered the first time I attempted to make “Lemon Chicken” in university (during the time dinosaurs roamed the earth) and how disastrous it was. Ready made Tesco breaded chicken and lemon juice from a squeezy bottle maketh-not-a-nice-lemon-chicken.
I kept the chicken whole for this recipe, since it is a roasted chicken recipe. You can cut the chicken into pieces, omit the rice stuffing and just use the marinade paste as a base for the sauce for you to bake the chicken pieces in – it will work just as well. And if you have some preserved lemons from this recipe, you can chop a piece of the rind (remove the soft pit, always!) and add it into the marinade too.
There were some leftovers from this recipe (since this serves 4-6 people depending on portion size) and I made a really nice Egg Fried Rice with leftover chicken for my husband the very next day.
Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
- 1 whole chicken
- 25g of butter, cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsps of honey
- 2 tbsp of dark soya sauce
- 3 thumb-sized pieces of ginger
- 2 garlic cloves
- lemon zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 2 tbsps of honey
- 2-3 tbsps of olive oil
- 1 tsp of salt
- a quarter rind of preserved lemon (optional)
- 1 small red onion, chopped into cubes
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
- 1 thumb sized ginger, grated
- lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 1-2 tbsps of lemon juice
- 1/2 cup of rice (long grain)
- 2/3 cup of hot water
- 2 -3 tbsps of olive oil
- 1 stalk of chinese celery, chopped fine (makes about 1 tbsp)
- 1 tsp of salt
- some freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
- Prepare the stuffing: in a frying pan, heat up the olive oil.
- Once hot, sauté the onions until translucent. Then add the garlic and ginger and continue cooking on medium heat until soft.
- Add the lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Add the rice, stir and coat well with the oil.
- Add the chopped celery and continue frying.
- Add the water.
- Season with the salt and pepper and cook until all the water has been absorbed. The rice should be slightly al dente, but not fully cooked.
- Remove from the fire and let cool.
- Make the paste: in a blender/mixer, add all the marinade paste ingredients and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
- Once the stuffing has cooled down, fill the cavity of the chicken with the stuffing until halfway full. Add a few tbsps of water in the cavity with the rice.
- Truss the chicken (use kitchen string or do what I do – I use the flaps and make small holes to fit the chicken legs in)
- If there is any leftover rice stuffing, add more water and cook until the rice is soft. You can serve the rice with the chicken later.
- Set the chicken in your roasting pan, and pour the marinade paste all over the chicken.
- Coat the paste all over the chicken.
- Place in the hot oven, and cook for 15 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 180 degrees C. Cook for another 15 minutes. (Total cooking time until now: 15 minutes)
- (Total cooking time until now: 30 minutes) After the 15 minutes, baste the chicken with the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan, and place the cubes of butter on top of the chicken and gently pour the 2 tbsps of honey on the chicken too. Return the chicken back to the oven and cook for another 30 minutes.
- (Total cooking time until now: 1 hour) Remove chicken from oven, and continue basting the chicken with the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan. Now, gently pour the 2 tbsps of dark soya sauce all over the chicken. Return the chicken back to the oven and cook for another 30 minutes.
- (Total cooking time until now: 1 hour and 30 minutes) Test the chicken by piercing the thigh of the chicken with a tip of the knife – if the juices run clear, then the chicken is cooked. If not, return to oven for another 15-20 minutes, and check again.
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.
- Slice/carve, and serve! You can serve it with the rice stuffing, or with potatoes, or rice, or noodles.. however you like.