Hello, welcome to Djalali Cooks! Salt and pepper roasted chicken was one my favorite dishes growing up. It’s hard to beat a simple, roasted chicken. So back when I was single, cooking for just myself, I would often roast a whole chicken on Sundays and meal prep for the week. The only difference between my single days and now is that I always spatchcock the bird. Spatchcocking makes for a more even cook, so that the breasts stay juicy and don’t get overcooked. So let’s do a Spatchcock Roasted Chicken!
Onions and Lemon!
My favorite way to roast the chicken is to lay it on a “platform” of thick cut Vidalia onions and lemon slices. This does a few things I quite like: 1) the thick cut onions and lemons raise the chicken up enough so that the accompanying veggies aren’t drowning in fat, they get just the right amount to add flavor; 2) the onions underneath get caramelized in chicken juices, they get soft and gorgeous; and 3) the surrounding veggies are infused with the sweet onion and lemon flavor thanks to the chicken fat and juices.
Before we get to the spatchcocking, let’s prepare our onion and lemon platform. Slice one large sweet onion into thick rounds, do the same with two lemons.
Arrange them in a rectangular fashion in the center of a half sheet tray. Arrange the oven rack to the middle-bottom position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
We always do this in the kitchen sink to minimize and contain the contamination area.
Press down on both thighs to flatten it down a bit. Then turn it over and lay it skin side up on the onions and lemons. Coat the bird with olive oil and season generously with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I like to use olive oil cooking spray, it gives a light even coating of oil. Set the sheet tray aside and we will prep the veggies.
Prep the Veg
I have 14 red potatoes of varying size and I have 5 skinny carrots. Cut the carrots into medium-sized pieces, keeping in mind to cut everything in relatively the same size so they roast evenly. Do the same with the potatoes. Set the carrots aside in a separate bowl. We will add the carrots about 30 minutes into the cook so they won’t get too soft.
Place the potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, thyme and a pinch of red pepper flakes. The seasonings are super simple and they’re all to taste. If you’re unsure, start light and you can always add more. Toss to coat the potatoes in the olive oil and seasoning.
With a spoon, or your hands, arrange the potatoes around the whole chicken. Toss the carrots in the same bowl you seasoned the potatoes in, drizzle with a little more olive oil, toss to coat and and just let those hang out.
Place the chicken in the oven and if you have an oven safe probe thermometer, go ahead and stick it in the breast, being careful not to hit a bone. If you don’t have an oven safe probe, set a timer for 30 minutes and you can insert a regular probe when we add the carrots, to get the internal temp.
At the 30 minute mark, add the carrots to the sheet tray and check the temp. Expect this chicken to roast for 45-50 minutes. Mine took 49 minutes. Remember that because we interrupted the cook to add the carrots, we let heat escape, so this will increase the cooking time. If you notice that one area of the bird is getting too dark, rotate the sheet tray, or cover the area with a piece of foil to finish. Pull the chicken when the thermometer reads 160 degrees. I like to probe a few different areas to get a consistent read. The bird will come up to 165 during its 10 minute rest.
Once the Spatchcocked Roasted Chicken is out of the oven, it needs to rest for 10 minutes. So let’s get the leafy greens going. I have baby bok choy, but use whatever you like! Mince up 3-4 cloves of garlic and heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Toss in the greens and reduce the temp to medium-low. Delicate greens like bok coy or spinach will literally take 30 seconds to wilt. So you can just let them wilt and turn off the heat, the residual heat will finish them off.
After its 10 minute rest, lift and set the bird on a cutting board and carve it up. We like to remove the thighs and drumsticks together as whole pieces first. And the wings. Then you can easily slice down the center of the breasts and gently remove each whole breast. I like to take a long sturdy spatula to toss the veggies, onion and lemon together.
Spatchcock Roasted Chicken!
Give everyone a generous helping of the veg, with plenty of onions and lemon. Then nestle in some greens, and place a whole chicken piece.
The chicken fat has carried the sweet onion and lemon flavor throughout the potatoes, which got crispy and tender. The carrots retain their sweetness and flavor. The onions are lightly caramelized and have so much rich flavor from the chicken fat. The roasted lemons add a deep and bitter bite; while the wilted bok choy is light and garlicky. And what about that crispy chicken skin! This chicken is so moist and juicy; the breasts are perfectly cooked. A feat achieved in part by the spatchcocking and by cooking to temperature, versus time. If you don’t already have a probe thermometer, you must get one today!
I love lemon with chicken. It’s one of my favorite combinations. If you think so too, try my Sheet Pan Lemon Pepper Chicken, it’s got all the same things going on. Don’t forget you can subscribe to the blog to get an email newsletter alerting you to every new post. Each email also contains my kitchen equipment recommendations. Also give me a like and follow over on facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Take care everyone, be well. xo Kelly
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Spatchcock Roasted Chicken
Roasting a spatchcock chicken on a bed of onions and lemons infuses the surrounding veggies with savory chicken, sweet onion and lemon flavor. So fresh and flavorful, this is practically a one-pan meal.
- 1 Large Vidalia Onion, sliced into thick rounds
- 2 Lemons, sliced into thick rounds, plus a squeeze of lemon juice for the Bok Choy
- 1 Whole Chicken
- Olive Oil (to coat chicken and to coat potatoes)
- Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder to taste
- 12-15 Small Red Potatoes, various sizes, cut into even pieces
- Red Pepper Flakes, Oregano, Thyme to taste
- 4-5 Carrots, Cut into even pieces
- 1 small Bag or bunch Baby Bok Choy
- 3-4 Cloves Garlic, minced
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Arrange onion and lemon slices in a rectangular fashion in the center of a half sheet pan and set aside.
Spatchcock the chicken by cutting along either side of the spine and removing the spine. Press the thighs down and flip the bird skin-side up onto the bed of onion and lemon slices. Coat the bird with a thin layer of olive oil and evenly coat with Kosher salt, Pepper and garlic powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, season the potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, Kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat and arrange potatoes around the chicken on the sheet tray. Put carrots in now empty bowl used to season potatoes, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat, and set aside.
Roast the chicken for 30 minutes and then add the carrots to the sheet tray.
Continue roasting until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. About 15-20 more minutes.
Pull the chicken and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add Bok Choy to skillet and reduce heat to medium-low.
Add a pinch of salt and minced garlic, stir until greens are wilted and turn off heat, about 30 seconds. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the greens and set aside.
After 10 minutes of resting, carve the bird by removing each thigh and drumstick as whole pieces. Then remove the wings.
Gently slice down the center of the breasts and remove each whole breast.
Stir the veggies, onions and lemons in the sheet tray.
Plate each serving with a helping of roasted vegetables, onions and lemon slices; nestle the greens in the veggies and add a chicken piece.