Roast Chicken Breasts with Rosemary-Lemon Brown Butter from Fine Cooking Magazine, February/March 2014

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I miss my chickens. I suppose it’s a little morbid to talk about pet poultry when their cousins are on the dinner plate, but my friends would tell you that this is a totally ‘me’ way of thinking.

Our chickens provided as much entertainment as they did eggs. I loved heading to the back of the yard every morning to release them from the coop. As I’d walk to the house, they’d run behind me, looking comical as they waddled to where they knew the good stuff was, the vegetable scraps and leftover rice.

I thought about my chickens this morning because the reason for their demise is here again. I can hear its screams as it’s circling our neighborhood looking for breakfast. The red-tailed hawk is back.

The hawk took out my chickens while Dudette and I were in Chicago a couple of years ago. Since Hubby was at work all day, there was no one home to run out back when the bird’s shadow passed over the yard or its call echoed through the yards.

So, for those who thought I was leading up to telling you that the chicken we ate with an awesome rosemary-lemon brown butter sauce was our girls, shame on you.

I came about these birds the American way, on a styrofoam tray with plastic wrap over it.

The Process

This recipe is found in Fine Cooking’s ‘Make It Tonight’ section, which claims that each dish can takes 30 minutes from start to finish. I made this for lunch on a day when Dudette’s friends were over, making use of the snow-covered hill that is our front yard.

There are two things that are fantastic about this dish. First, it’s a one-pot wonder. I love those.  Pull out the 12-inch skillet and let the rest of the pans sit nice and clean in the cupboard.

Second, the prep work includes chopping up rosemary and juicing half a lemon. That’s it. I love that too. I did use my mini-chopper for the rosemary. Since it’s such a tough herb, I wanted the pieces very tiny.

All that I had to do was brown the chicken, throw the whole skillet in the oven, remove the cooked chicken from the skillet, pour off the grease, melt butter and add the rosemary, cook it a bit, add lemon, season and serve.

The Verdict

Three children ate this for lunch. Imani, our neighbor asked me for ketchup as soon as she sat down at the table, which depressed me a bit. So, I got the bottle out and set it on the table before I went about cleaning up the skillet.

I heard nothing but silence and the sound of forks on plates, which is usually a really good sign when it comes to food. By the time I made it back to the eating area, Dudette and Imani had inhaled their chicken and Cam had put a good dent in his. The ketchup bottle sat unused right where I had left it.

When I asked about it, Imani told me that she only uses the ketchup when the meat isn’t that tasty and that she didn’t need it for the chicken because it was amazing. Score! It really was delicious. Hubby and I ate some later and loved every bite. The sauce is delicious; a perfect combination of tangy, nutty and rich.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

Nothing. It’s perfect as is.

Roast Chicken Breasts with Rosemary-Lemon Brown Butter from Fine Cooking Magazine, February/March 2014
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Reviewed by:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
  • 4 bone-in skin-on split chicken breasts (about 1-3/4 lb.)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 oz. (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Pat the chicken dry and generously season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the chicken skin side down and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the chicken over, transfer the pan to the oven, and roast until the chicken is cooked through (165°F), about 20 minutes. Transfer to a platter.
  3. Pour off any fat from the skillet, add the butter, and melt over medium heat. Add the rosemary and cook, stirring, until the butter turns brown and gives off a nutty aroma, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with the lemon wedges.

9 thoughts on “Roast Chicken Breasts with Rosemary-Lemon Brown Butter from Fine Cooking Magazine, February/March 2014

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  • February 18, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    I think about your chickens often, I wondered if they were all gone since you never mention them anymore. If you told us about them I must have been away on vacation and missed the post. So sad, to lose the girls. My sons neighbors have homing pigeons and we see the hawks take after them sometimes. Not an easy thing to see.

  • February 18, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Looks perfect. :) I love the flavors of lemon and rosemary on chicken. This one gets a big YUM!

  • February 17, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    I so want chickens…maybe when I retire. Between the hawks, coyotes, and roaming dogs I know I am setting myself up for failure. I don't think I could eat any of them though. I hear they become just like pets.

    • February 18, 2014 at 9:58 am

      I'd like to have chickens again and we've talked about it. We'd have to build a big chicken wire area for them that had a cover on it though. Not impossible at all, just not yet.

  • February 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    "The girls". Took me a minute to remember the chickens. I do recall now. Is there anything that scares hawks away like a Swan supposedly does (is it to Canada Geese)? That dish looks incredible. I bet a big ole slobbery dog would do the trick, though, may hamper some egg laying to constantly be worrying about a big bored dog giving you the eye.

    • February 18, 2014 at 9:57 am

      Yeah, I don't think that chickens and dogs make a good combination. Heck, I don't think that slobbery and me made a good combination either. I think the only things that scare hawks away are people. Sadly.


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