Dishes are the bane of my existence, so when I’m feeling extra lazy I turn to easy lemon oven roasted chicken for a delicious meal. I don’t have a dishwasher in my small apartment, so slapping some aluminum foil or wax paper on some baking sheets totally excites me as little clean-up is involved. I was craving some hearty soul-food, but I am not against taking a shortcut here and there (à la semi-homemade cooking). I decided to make lemon marinated oven-roasted chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, and baked asparagus. The easiest shortcut to take was buying the premade ‘Simply Potatoes’ mashed sweet potatoes, but please, don’t judge me. I was tired after a long day and they were BOGO at Publix (the best grocery store in the entire universe!).
So here is what I did: I bought the chicken, lemons, asparagus, and easy sweet mashed potatoes on the way to my friend’s house for a drink. I got to her apartment and asked for a Ziploc and some olive oil. I tossed the chicken it into a Ziploc, added olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and salt and pepper (yeah I felt pretty seriously about getting my chicken marinating early- it was in her fridge for probably 2 hours before I took it out and went home to bake it!). Once I got home I set the oven to 400F, snipped some rosemary from my garden, chopped it and spread it evenly under the skin of the split chicken breasts with skin and bone.
Keeping the skin on the chicken guarantees it isn’t going to dry out while baking in the oven long enough to cook the thick breast through. Always remember to put the herbs underneath the skin of the chicken, they are likely to burn and lose their bright taste when sprinkled on top. I baked the chicken breasts for 45 minutes. While they were baking I chopped the tough ends off of a bunch of asparagus (enough for 2) and put them on a baking sheet: drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and light freshly shaved parmesan. I took the mashed sweet potatoes out of their container and into a glass Pyrex with a gentle sprinkle of brown sugar and some chunks of salted butter. I put both the side dishes in the oven with about 20 minutes left in the chicken.
I’m a sucker for sauces- so I finely minced two large cloves of garlic and lightly sautéed it in butter for 3-4 minutes, added some flour, salt and pepper, and made a quick roux. The roux should simmer for a minute to ‘brown’. I added some whole milk gently to the mixture to create the sauce, being careful as to not add too much milk maybe a ½- ¾ cup (?). Otherwise I’d have to work harder to incorporate it into the sauce. When the sauce was almost done I added a generous teaspoon of Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard for a spark of flavor and color.
The chicken was seriously perfect when it came out of the oven. The skin was crispy and speckled with rosemary and the sauce was richly divine. I might’ve preferred a simpler butter garlic sauce with parsley- I’ll save that for next time. Also the asparagus was too soft for my liking after 20 minutes, maybe 15 would have been better, or I’ll just serve a salad with arugula and shaved Parmesan next time.
For the Chicken: (this recipe is for 2, double/triple/quadruple/etc. if desired)
2 split chicken breasts bone-in
Juice of one lemon
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
For the Asparagus:
Bunch asparagus, rough ends chopped off
Drizzle with olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
For the Simply Potatoes mashed sweet potatoes:
Put in oven-safe container
Sprinkle brown sugar
Add a bit of salted butter
Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes to 2 hours before putting in the oven. Turn oven to 400F. You could marinate overnight too for ultimate flavor integration- but 2 hours was just fine for me. Add the chopped rosemary under the skin before roasting. Put the chicken breasts in the oven. Roast for 45-50 minutes or until the juices run clear.
When there are 20 minutes left in the roasting time, put the asparagus and mashed sweet potatoes in the oven too. During this time I made a sauce to eat with the chicken but I guarantee it was really not necessary. The chicken was so fantastically crispy and juicy with hints of lemon and herb, so the sauce really wasn’t required– but good nonetheless. This recipe is simple, easy, and the extra bonus is that it requires the least amount of dishes possible.