In St John’s: Lemon Basil Roasted Chicken

After eating South Indian food for weeks, I needed to cook something that would be a refreshing change. Naturally, I decided to roast a chicken. With this important decision behind me, I did what every home chef would do; go shopping.

Finding stuff in St John’s isn’t that easy. It took me two grocery stores to find basil. An hour later I found myself in front of a shelf full of roasting pans at Walmart. Overwhelmed, I followed my instinct and asked a women standing next to me. Diane, pointed to an oval shaped pot priced at $11.95 pan. She also gave me advice on what temperature to roast at, how long to roast for, and how to get the skin crispy. The advice was well worth it.

Next item on my list was kitchen string; Walmart didn’t have any, neither did Sobeys. My last resort was Dominian, they didn’t carry any kitchen string either but I figured I should ask the deli. The deli man, ripped a tray, and wrapped a fair amount of thread around it and just gave it to me.

Lemon Basil Roasted Chicken
1 full chicken
6 – 7 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
4 – 5 big basil leaves
4 – 5 sprigs of coriander
½ jalapeño pepper
2 lemons
1 tsp of salt
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup of water

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
2. Clean the chicken with water and pat it dry. Place it in the roasting pan.
3. Peel garlic, zest both lemons, and juice one lemon. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, jalapeño, salt, and garlic to a blender. Blend to a fine paste.
4. Poke holes in the second lemon and put the lemon inside the chicken cavity. Smother the chicken with the blended garlic mixture.
5. Truss the chicken.
6. Finely chop basil and coriander leaves and coat the chicken with them. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil.
7. Add the water into the pan and cover the pan and place it into the oven.
8. Baste the chicken every 15 minutes.
9. After 45 minutes, remove the lid from the roasting pan. Set the oven to broil and its temperature to 375ºF. Let the chicken roast for another 15 – 30 minutes. Remember to keep basking the chicken every 15 minutes.
10. Stick a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The chicken is done, when the thermometer reads 160ºF.
11. Remove the chicken from the oven and place on a plate. Cover the plate with foil and let the chicken rest for 15 minutes.
12. Carve the chicken and serve hot.

My verdict: It took me 3 hours to shop for the ingredients and it took 15 minutes to marinate the chicken and pop into the oven. Such is life in St John’s.

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  • Rebecca Utas

    Pssst…you ‘bask’ in sunshine or compliments, you ‘baste’ a roast of any kind of meat.

    Sounds like a good recipe though.

    • PragatiChopra

      Thx Rebecca!! I feel silly and happy that you pointed it out. If u’d know the number of people that this post got reviewed by n this mistake looked over by… u’d laugh! Hope u try the recipe!

  • somayeh

    I live in St. John’s since last year and I was wondering where did you find basil in St. John’s?