Lemon & Rosemary Chicken in my new terracotta roaster

Serves 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes + 8 – 24 hours marinating time (if you are marinating but not required)

Cooking time: 1.5 hours


1 whole chicken (medium size, giblets removed)

1 lemon (juice and peel)

5 sprigs (sticks) fresh rosemary

3 cloves garlic whole

1 onion quartered

6 tbls olive oil

Salt (to taste)

Black Pepper (to taste)


Paper/kitchen towel or clean dish cloth/tea towel

Roasting pan (I use a terracotta roasting pan for this recipe but any roasting tin can be used)

Kitchen twine (if chicken is not already trussed)

1 large resealable freezer bag for marinating


Preheat the oven to 200C/395F.  If using a terracotta roasting pan DO NOT preheat the oven.

Rinse the chicken inside and out and dry with paper towel.  If your chicken is not tied (trussed) you will need to do this using kitchen twine.

Once you’ve trussed the chicken,  salt and pepper the cavity and rub in about 1 tbls of olive oil.  Stuff the chicken cavity with the onion, lemon peel, garlic cloves, and rosemary.

If marinating the chicken, salt and pepper the outside of the chicken.  Add the remaining olive oil to the freezer bag along with the juice of the lemon, place the chicken in the bag and seal. Squish the chicken around in the bag.  Marinate for several hours or overnight.

If not marinating place the chicken in the roasting pan and pour over lemon juice.  Then pat on olive oil and then salt and pepper the outside of the chicken.

To cook the chicken place into the oven uncovered for 1.5 hours.

Terracotta roaster:  Soak roaster (top and bottom) in cold water for 10 minutes before cooking.  Place chicken in roaster, cover and place in cold oven.  Roast at the temperature noted for 1.25 hours remove the lid for the last 15 minutes to brown.

Test the doneness of the chicken by piercing the chicken in the thigh joint with a sharp knife.  The juices should run clear when the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with your favorite vegetable.


I bought a terracotta roasting pan years ago because it was pretty. This was well before you could type a few words into Google and get 1000 answers to any question imaginable.   I had no clue what to do with it but because the box had a chicken in the roaster, I figured I could at least use it for that.  When I got it home I stuck a chicken in it, popped it in the oven and hoped for the best. I was so surprised when my normally bland, dry roasted chicken was moist, juicy and tasty. The only change was the pan. Well, I used that thing a few times but you can only make whole chickens so much when you’re single. It got packed away and through many moves, and many storage units, it was carted away by the storage fairies.

Then the other day on a freak trip to the neighborhood ghetto mall, I decided to go to T.K. Maxx (that’s T.J. Maxx in America). I’ve never been to T.K. Maxx here in London but everyone always raves about it so, I thought I’d give it a go. I walked through rows handbags tossed among bottles of perfume and lotion, stepped over mismatched shoes, climbed the escalator and entered kitchen heaven. I could feel tears of joy welling up in the corners of my eyes as I gawked at an entire floor dedicated to home supplies and kitchen stuff. Rows of Le Creuset, 20 types of salt and pepper grinders, every type of pot or pan I could ever want, muffin tins and tea pots.

At this point I must tell you that I’ve inherited a kitchen gadget gene from my mother. Before I moved to England, I believe that my mom and I were in a race to see who could buy and use every useless kitchen gadget known to man. .   Magic bullet – I’ve got it (in fact I had three). Home rotisserie – had that before George Foreman slapped his name on one. Ice cream maker – that one’s ticked too. My mother has even inherited an electric pressure cooker which I only left because the current here in the UK would have caused me to blow up my house if I plugged it in.  It’s a bit like crack; once you start buying kitchen gadgets you just can’t stop.  To be honest, I might sell my husband for a professional Kitchen-Aid stand mixer (my Mom has one that has about an inch of dust on it and I am so jealous).  But I digress.

So strolling up the isles, I discovered a lovely burnt orange terracotta roasting pan with lid that brought back wonderful memories of lovely tender roasted chicken. In total about $12 for the whole contraption. These usually cost at least $30-$40. Great chicken plus a good deal – I’m sold!

This Sunday I thought it only proper that I take our little roasting pan on its maiden voyage. I went on the internet to see how to properly use the thing (because you know at T.J. Maxx you don’t always get the box) and discovered that the pot need a ten minute soak in cold water before putting it into a cold oven. Oops never did that with the other one.  The point is that water soaks into the porous clay and, as the roaster heats up in the oven, steam is released. The steam does the cooking and you get a juicy, fall off the bone chicken (even the breast meat).

The only drawback of the terracotta roaster is that the chicken doesn’t get that crispy dark brown that I love so much. If you take the lid off for the last 30 minutes of cooking the chicken will get a lovely tan but it won’t look like you just came back from Boston Market with a rotisserie bird. If you follow this recipe and don’t use a terracotta roaster, your chicken will have a beautiful dark brown, crispy skin that will make you fight your mama but,  may not be as juicy as the terracotta roasting pan.

This chicken recipe is an original but having Googled “terracotta roasting pan recipes” I’ve discovered that you can make slow cooked stews in them as well as other meat and fish.  So maybe with so many possibilities this roasting dish won’t go missing. By the way, I don’t think my mom has one of these yet but I bet by the time she gets to the end of this post one will be on its way from Amazon.

One Comment Add yours

  1. I do have one. I just about have any untensil or appliance including the ones you have bought or given me. And I do use the stand mixer, for holidays and special occasions. (No dust) I suddenly have the urge for some slow roasted bird. I’ll have to ask Melvin to take one out of the freezer. He will love you. Finally a home cooked meal.

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