Lemon Chicken

Michel Richard

Citronelle - Washington, D.C.

For this crowd-pleasing dish, JBF Award winner Michel Richard flavors chicken with roasted lemon pulp. You can roast the citrus a day before cooking the chicken, or you can multitask by roasting the lemons and marinating the chicken at the same time.


  • 5 lemons, divided
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • One large chicken (about 5 pounds), skinned and quartered
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons honey, divided
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped into eighths
  • 2 to 3 drops Tabasco
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary


To roast the lemons, preheat the oven to 300ºF. Wrap 4 of the lemons in aluminum foil. Place directly on an oven rack and roast for 2 hours. Set aside to cool. (This step can be done a day ahead.)

Pour the lemon juice into a shallow dish or bowl. Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat. Marinate the chicken for 2 hours, turning the pieces occasionally.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Set the marinade aside for later use. Liberally season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Rub 1 tablespoon of the honey over the outer sides (the sides where the skin used to be).

Preheat the oven to 300ºF.

In a large sauté pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken pieces, honey-rubbed side down, until the chicken is a medium caramel color, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken, caramelized side down, to an ovenproof baking dish and set aside.

In another sauté pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, until caramelized. Set aside.

Slice the roasted lemons in half. Squeeze out the pulp and discard the seeds. Finely chop the pulp and place in a small mixing bowl. Mix in the remaining tablespoon of honey and the Tabasco.

Spread the lemon-pulp mixture on top of the chicken. Arrange the caramelized onions around the chicken. Pour the reserved marinade around the chicken, taking care not to wash any of the pulp mixture off of the meat. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Roast the chicken in the oven until golden and cooked through, about 45 minutes.

To serve, transfer the chicken to a large platter. Slice the remaining lemon and arrange the slices around the chicken. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.


8 to 10 servings