Citrus Herb Roasted Hen

Savory Southern Sunshine

I have before briefly touched on the difference between a Fryer, Broiler, Roaster, Baking Hen and a Stewing Hen. Each are of different age and each have a certain purpose for their usage in recipes. Recapping, the Fryer is a young bird, 7 to 13 weeks old and from somewhere just under 2 pounds up to 4. It’s main purpose is as the name implies. Normally cut-up into the basic eight portions, this bird is best for frying because the young meat is so juicy and tender. Broilers are the most popular as some refer to them as an all-purpose bird ’cause you can use them in so many ways. Plumb and tasty, this type of poultry is of certain stock, bred for it copious amount of meat. Broilers typically run under 6 pounds and are between 4 to 8 weeks old. Roasters are much larger chickens weighing in between 6 to 9 pounds and are normally butchered around 14 weeks. The Hen is an adult female that has arrived at the egg-laying status in the hen-house. And the Stewing Hen is one a bit more mature, past prime and one that is no longer laying. This is why these old birds are better stewed or left to the soup pot as their meat is tough and stringy.

Now this recipe takes on the cooking technique that I use when making another Roasted Chicken Recipe and some of the elements of my version of Engagement Chicken. But the taste is nothing like either one. This one takes on a different flavor with a wider variety of herbs and the induction of orange with the lemon overtones are classic.


Roasted Chicken for Sunday Dinners
6 to 8 servings

1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 lemons, one juiced, one quartered and one sliced
4 clementines, two juiced, one quartered and one sliced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt-free Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed marjoram
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1/4 teaspoon crushed sage
1 teaspoon onion flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 -7 to 9 pound young hen or roaster (chicken)
1 medium onion, cut into eights
1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch sections
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine

Rinse the roaster under cold water inside and out. Pat completely dry with paper towels.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and mix in the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, clementine juice, vinegar and and Creole seasoning. Simmer on low for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a small bowl, mix the marjoram, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage and onion bits together. Set aside. Sprinkle a good tablespoon into the cavity coating as much of the inside as possible. Add remaining seasoning mixture to the butter mixture.
Jumble the cut-up lemon, clementine, onion and celery together and stuff into the cavity. Truss the chicken legs and wings to hold together while cooking.

Brush the seasoned butter mixture all over the outside of the chicken. You can spoon a little under the skin of the breast for extra flavor.

Place the chicken in a roasting rack and set rack into the roasting pan, breast side down and pour chicken stock, wine and water in the bottom of the pan.

Place pan in the center of the oven roasting for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. and turn the chicken over, breast side up. Cover the roaster with the lemon and clementine slices. Continue roasting about 1 hour.

Baste the citrus slices with the pan drippings a couple of times during the last part of cooking.

Check the internal temperature of the inside of the thigh meat and the breast. I removed the slices to let the top brown the last 10 or so minutes. (My hen took 1 hour 15 minutes to cook.) The poultry is done when its internal temperature registers 160 degrees F in the breast and 175 in the leg (stay away from the bone). Don’t ever trust the old adage about “when the legs wiggles loosely when twisted – it’s done.” The leg meat may be but as for the breast, not necessarily so.

Remove from oven, tent with foil and allow to rest at least 15 minutes before carving. Use the pan drippings to make a very savory, citrus tasting gravy.

Note: Use citrus like satsuma, tangelo, tangerine or any other small, sweet orange.


  1. Sounds herby and citrusly delicious

  2. This sounds MARVELOUS! We love roasted birds of any type and I'm always looking for new ways to have them. I look forward to trying this!

  3. The first paragraph of your post had me visualizing that Julia Child episode where she had all the raw chicken bodies lined up to explain the difference. :) The chicken sounds great! Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. I just wonder why it's so hard to find an older bird these days. They make wonderful broth!


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