Roasted Chicken Breasts with Meyer Lemon and Italian Herbs

This is quick and easy. The chicken is fragrant and juicy. A good way to use those chicken breasts on sale. Use roasted bones and skin for Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup  ; perfect to make broth for Minestrone Soup on a rainy day.

5 bone-in chicken breasts with skin attached
Olive oil, about 3 Tb
5  garlic cloves, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
2 Tb fresh thyme, minced
About 1 Tb each dried oregano and thyme
About 1 tsp chili flakes
Sea salt and pepper
Fresh basil leaves
2 lemons: ½  sliced and 1 ½  juiced and zest grated

Preheat oven to 450′

Oil a large roasting pan

Salt underside of breasts. Place breasts in pan, skin side up

Stuff garlic, rosemary, fresh thyme and a lemon slice under each breast skin

Sprinkle dried herbs, chili flakes, salt and pepper over breasts

Sprinkle olive oil over breasts

Roast in 450’ oven for 50 minutes

Squeeze lemon juice over cooked chicken. Garnish with fresh basil and Meyer lemon zest.

The Chicken Who Flew Across the Mediterranean

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This chicken gathered fresh rosemary, oregano and garlic from Southern Europe, then flew to the Middle East to pick up the onions, sumac, allspice and cardamom used to make Musakhkhan, the Palestinian chicken dish. Then blended it all with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, yogurt and thyme. It all combines to make a succulent  Mediterranean barbecued chicken.

Serves 4-5 adults

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¼ cup lemon juice from a medium lemon

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 onion, chopped

10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced to make 1/4 cup

1 Tb rosemary needles

2 tsp thyme leaves (fresh or dried)

1 Tb oregano leaves

¼ tsp cardamom

¼ tsp allspice

¼  tsp cloves

2 Tb sumac (available at Middle Eastern grocery stores)

2 teaspoons of salt

10 grinds of black pepper

2 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts

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Mix lemon juice, olive oil yogurt in a marinade container. Add chopped onions, minced garlic and herbs and spices. Make several cuts into the meat to better absorb the marinade. I cut the boneless breasts in 3 to 4  pieces.  Leave in marinade for about 4 hours. Barbecue on medium temperature for 30-40 minutes for bone-in chicken, or 15 -20 minutes for boneless chicken until done.  It is even more tender when cooked in the marinade in a frying pan.


Roast Chicken

The fresh herbs and lemon give the chicken a wonderful flavor and keep it moist. Baking it breast side down allows the juices to moisten the breast meat. I do the same for turkey.


1 chicken. If you can afford it, Rocky or Mary’s air dried are the best

Salt and pepper

3 Tb olive oil (EVOO is best)

Garlic infused olive oil

fresh herbs: 3 sprigs rosemary, 5 sprigs thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

5 medium or 4 large garlic cloves thinly sliced

1 lemon split in half


Remove giblets from cavity flaps. Rinse and dry chicken (inside and out) with paper towels.

Place chicken on a large plate. Salt inside and out.Return to the refrigerator for an hour.

Preheat oven to 430′ Oil roasting pan and place chicken in, breast side up.

Stuff breast cavity with ground pepper and lemon halves

Mix garlic, rosemary and thyme in 3 Tb olive oil. Tuck it under the breast skin and under thigh skin. Smear garlic oil on top with your fingers, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

breast side down

Close flaps of skin over cavities, and flip chicken breast down. Oil and season the back as you did the breast.

Roast at 430′ degrees for an hour and 20 minutes, (more or less depending on the size of the chicken.)

You can bake a whole eggplant, potatoes, yams and/or a butternut squash alongside the chicken. Place them on foil to avoid getting their juices onto the roasting pan (especially the yams!)

Our favorite is roasted chicken with yams:

chicken wing and yam