I don’t know why the High Holidays always sneak up on me. This year, when Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) rolled around, I found myself a bit unprepared yet again. The beginning of school has been a bit more hectic than anticipated and we’ve done a little travelling. So about a week before, I realized that we needed to do something to celebrate properly. I decided to make a roast chicken, some tzimmes (a traditional sweet root vegetable dish) and a stuffing of some sort with apples in it.
You see at the new year, Jews traditionally eat apples and honey to signify a fruitful and sweet year. It’s kind of like Southerners eating black eyed peas and collard greens (for luck and money). Anyway, it’s a lovely tradition so I went on a quest for the perfect recipes for our feast.
One of my very first stops was to www.toriavey.com. She has a lot of traditional Jewish festival food but also everyday good stuff. I clicked on her holiday link and found a great recipe in her Rosh Hashana recipe list. There was a recipe there for Farah’s Roast Chicken that hit all the points I wanted. It’s a little sweet with honey, but also savory with notes of garlic, rosemary and lemon. I made a few minor variations to come up with a version that worked with my busy schedule on Erev Rosh Hashana (Hebrew School, homework, and services that night! Yikes!).
This is a recipe that I’ll make again and again. It’s lemony without being overpowering and perfectly moist and delicious.
Honey Lemon Roast Chicken
- 1 whole chicken, 4-5 lbs, back bone removed (see Spatchcocked Grilled Chicken for directions on doing so)
- 1/4 C olive oil
- 2 T apple cider vinegar
- 2 T honey
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T fresh rosemary, chopped, stems reserved
- 2 T salt
- 1 T pepper
- 1 medium lemon
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Zest lemon and cut lemon in half.
Mix together olive oil, vinegar, honey, minced garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir in 1 T lemon zest and juice of 1/2 of the lemon. Mix well so that all ingredients are well combined.
Place garlic cloves, rosemary stems and juiced lemon halves in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place chicken, breast side up on top of aromatics. Tuck wing tips behind chicken and turn drumsticks so the ends are facing outward. Brush liberally with olive oil mixture, massaging under skin so that chicken is very well coated. Cover roasting pan with foil and allow chicken to marinate in refrigerator for several hours (I took the time to clean the house in preparation for our celebration).
Remove chicken from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature (about 20-30 minutes). Preheat oven to 375.
Poke a few holes in the foil so you don’t steam the chicken and roast for about one hour, rotating pan once during cooking to ensure even heat distribution. After an hour, remove foil and continue to roast so that the skin gets nice and brown and crispy. Chicken is safe when internal temperature reaches 165, probably another 20-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving and serving.