Spring is here, as are wonderful rains that leave puddles, rainbows, and moist soil perfect for herbs! One of my personal favorite herbs, basil, is fairly delicate and is best during the spring. Just as the days get brighter, so does the springtime flavor palette. Basil is bright, spicy, and earthy, a perfect mate for lemons, whose own brightness marries with basil’s. When combined, these ingredients create a beautiful medley that brings a well-rounded depth of flavor to both savory and sweet dishes. My favorite lemon basil combination dish is Lemon Basil Roast Chicken. You’ll be shocked at how little effort incorporating this springtime pair into cooking can be, but amazed at the delicious results. Hit the farmer’s market for some locally grown produce to support your local farmers, economy, and environment. Of course, organic ingredients, where available, are the best choice to eliminate chemicals, GMO, and promote sustainable and responsible farming.
Easy Lemon Basil Chicken Recipe
This is a crowd-pleasing family favorite. A more accurate name would be Lemon Basil Garlic Roast Chicken, but that is quite the mouthful. This originally began as a whole-roasted chicken which was equally tasty, but took more time and effort than our working family was able to regularly devote to even the tastiest of dishes. If you have the time, you should try this recipe with a whole bird, you won’t be sorry. Otherwise, this simple recipe for chicken is quick enough for weekend nights, warming for stormy evenings, and makes great leftovers for sandwiches, salads, and pasta dishes.
2lb organic chicken pieces of your choice, SKIN ON
1/2cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1 organic lemon
1cup lemon juice, strained
1 bunch organic basil, torn or roughly chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375F
In a medium bowl, combine butter, garlic, zest, juice, and basil. Mix until incorporated.
In a foil-lined pan, spread chicken in a single layer.
Loosen the skin from the chicken pieces
Season liberally with salt & pepper
With a spoon (I use my hands), scoop up some of your butter mixture. Spread onto chicken pieces and under skin
Bake chicken for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove when the meat of a larger piece reads 160F.
USDA recommends 165 as a safe temperature for poultry. I find that allowing chicken to carry-over cook for the last 5 degrees outside of the oven keeps the meat moister. Also, allowing meat to rest thoroughly before cutting will ensure juices are retained and produce a succulent bird.