Ina’s Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken

My friend Vicki served this chicken when I was visiting her in Belfast, Maine. After all, why go out to eat when you are staying with one of the best cooks I know. Here is her adaptation of Ina Garten’s Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken. You can always count on Ina (and my friend Vicki) for amazing dishes!  Make this delicious comfort dish in your own home to celebrate the New year. If you want to see Ina’s recipe, it’s in her book Cooking for Jeffrey.



  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (Vicki used dried thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds (she also skipped the fennel seeds)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 lemon, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick (remove the ends of the lemon)
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (Vicki uses 6 cloves)
  • 1 (4-pound) chicken, backbone removed and butterflied  (don’t let this scare you…easy to do with a great pair of kitchen scissors which we have at Hammertown…or you can ask your butcher to do it). *Vicki used small organic chicken
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • Juice of 1 lemon


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the thyme, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a mini food processor and process until ground. Pour the olive oil into a small glass measuring cup, stir in the herb mixture, and set aside.

Distribute the lemon slices in a 12-inch cast iron skillet and distribute the onion and garlic on top. Place the chicken, skin side down, on top of the onion and brush with about half the oil and herb mixture. Turn the chicken skin side up, pat it dry with paper towels (very important!), and brush it all over with the rest of the oil and herb mixture.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan (not on the chicken!) and roast for another 10 to15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 to 160 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the oven, sprinkle it with the lemon juice, cover the skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the chicken in quarters or eighths, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot with the pan juices, cooked lemon, and onion.