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Please help with marinating a whole chicken with lemon!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Okay, so after being a vegetarian for a very long time, I've had some major health setbacks and had to return to eating meat. Chicken is one of my staples now, and I'm trying to figure out the best way of cooking a whole chicken and getting the full lemon flavour throughout.

When I cook chicken breasts, it's fairly easy. I usually pierce them and marinate in a bunch of lemon juice for a few hours, but when I marinate a whole chicken, I find that only the skin really soaks up the lemon flavor.

I make do by adding a decent amount of lemon pepper seasoning, but I'd really like to have it taste like it's "infused" like the chicken breasts. I've tried cutting up lemons and stuffing them inside, but that doesn't seem to help.

My biggest restrictions in recipes are that no additives beyond spices are included, but I've really struggled to find a magical lemon marinated whole chicken recipe.

Help?

Thanks!
post #2 of 6

Try to use organic lemon. The two tablespoons is already equivalent to the juice of one whole lemon. Some have ideas like keeping lemon juice to the season where no fruits and the results were good and you can have our own natural juice with no additives or preservatives production for 12 months without problems.

post #3 of 6

Zest the lemon (organic) for example with a microplane and stuff some of the zest in the cavity, and some under the skin, between the beast meat and the skin, even between the thigh meat and the skin. For better results you can even infuse some olive oil with the zest, then use the oil to rub the cavity and under the skin. 

 

You can always add the lemon juice after cooking, just before serving, along with a little fleur de sel and some freshly cracked black pepper. 

 

Another idea, slightly different: use preserved lemons, and emulsify them with olive oil (best to use a mortar and pestle, second best is a food processor). If you like garlic, add some to the lemons before starting the emulsion. You can also use fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley or cilantro. Again, rub cavity and under skin before roasting. 

post #4 of 6

We like an intense lemon flavor too but we achieve it with the jus or gravy.  I stuff the cavity with lemon and that's about it.  I roast the chicken on a bed of onion/celery/carrot/herbs and lemon slices and roast in a high heat.  Don't forget to add a little water or vermouth during the roasting process because the bottom of the pan can scorch.  

 

When it is cooked I remove the chicken and allow it to rest.  Then I put the pan on the stove top, stir in a tsp of flour (if you want a slightly thick gravy) and add some chicken stock and lots of lemon juice and bring to a simmer.  Reduce, season and serve with your chicken.  

 

What I would not do is inject and marinate.  I don't like the idea of poking holes into any meat.  

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #5 of 6

I second Koukouvagia's opinion about piercing the meat. Also, if you marinate the chicken too long in the citrus juices, the flesh will become mushy. Don't leave it more than 4 hours in the juices, in my opinion. Use the zest as others have said. Herbs such as lemon grass, lemon verbena, lemon thyme, etc. can give you some lemon flavor without the actual citrus as well. Lemon-infused oils also carry the flavor without breaking down the meat.

 

Try roasting the chicken on a bed of potatoes. Yum.

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post #6 of 6

If your starting with a whole chicken you can access the area between the flesh and the skin, without removing the skin.  Create a point of entry where you can get your finger in between the skin and the flesh without actually removing the whole skin. Then carefully separate the skin from the flesh using your finger to cover as much areas as you can without making your point of entry any larger. You can even use an implement such as the handle of a wooden spoon to prevent making your entry point too big. Using chopped zest from an organic lemon (organic or pesticide free otherwise the skin will have pesticide residue) distribute it on as much of the flesh that you can access, along with any other seasoning. The zest will be there when you finish but your meat should certainly be lemony. You can even make a spice mixture rub that you can add lemon juice to or i suppose just squeeze some lemon right into the pocket.

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