The Feast of Saint Macarius (or How to Make a Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken)

As you’ve probably gathered from my recent posts, I am becoming acutely aware of the limited number of days left in my college career. My housemates and I decided to make a “bucket list” to help make our last days as students in the District as memorable as possible, and, upon realizing that we would all be in town this weekend, we decided to cross one of the items off of our list: the Feast of Saint Macarius the Wonder-Worker.

I know that you are probably wondering who the heck Saint Macarius is, so let me explain. My housemate Doria had a craving for Thanksgiving food over spring break and messaged me about the possibility of having a house Thanksgiving upon our return. I was completely fine with us, so we started planning what to make and when to have our feast. We didn’t want to simply dub it, “Thanksgiving,” however, so she decided to co-opt the Feast of Saint Macarius and use that to mark the day when, hopefully, we will all try to get together or at least contact each other in the future.

The Feast was a complete success. Doria made some delicious sides – Cranberry Apple Crumble, Sweet Potato Casserole, and Stuffing – and French Silk Pie (I am going to try and get her to guest blog and post those recipes!), Heather made a great pumpkin-pecan pie, and I made a roasted chicken (it’s just not the season for turkey in casa nostra), vegetarian gravy and mashed potatoes (with Mary’s assistance). Kevin provided wine, and Ena helped clean up, set the table, and coordinate things as she is busy with her thesis. All of the house effort resulted in a scrumptious meal!

Below is my recipe for roasted chicken. This particular bird turned out incredibly moist and lemony. I am so excited for leftovers! Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1,  5 lb. chicken
  • ¼ cup of fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 lemon – zested and cut into quarters
  • ½-¾ cup of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • ½ pound of red new potatoes, cut in half
  • Coarse salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  • First, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • In a bowl, toss together your potatoes, 1 tablespoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of black pepper and about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add more oil if necessary to ensure that your potatoes are covered. Place your potatoes on your baking sheet and set aside.
  • Finely chop and combine your parsley, lemon zest, and thyme leaves. Combine with 1½ to 2 tablespoons of coarse salt and an equal amount of black pepper (I always use less salt). Set aside.

  • Wash and dry your chicken – be sure to clean the inside cavity and pat that dry as well.
  • Using your fingers, start by the neck of the chicken and begin to gently separate the skin from the breast, thighs, and legs of the bird, being careful not to rip the skin.
  • Distribute the thyme-parsley-lemon mixture evenly underneath the skin of the chicken.

  • Tuck the wings under the breast of the chicken. Place the lemon quarters inside the cavity, squeezing the juice of one quarter on top of the bird. Then, tie the legs together with some kitchen twine. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place the chicken on top of the potatoes. Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the skin is crisp.

Serves 6-10.

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