Lemon Curd and Black Pepper Roasted Chicken

Lemon Curd and Black Pepper Roasted Chicken
John Lee


For the brine

  • 1 Tablespoon  black peppercorns
  • 2 Teaspoons  Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
  • 2 Teaspoons  coriander seeds
  • 8 Cups  water
  •   Scant 1 cup kosher salt
  • red Thai chile, sliced or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  •   One 4- to 5-pound free-range chicken

For the lemon curd

  • large egg yolks
  • 1/3 Cup  sugar
  •   Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 Tablespoons  unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon  black peppercorns
  • 1 Teaspoon  coriander seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon  finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 Teaspoon  finely chopped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 Cup  plus 1 tablespoon water, plus more as needed

A perfectly roasted chicken is what many cooks dream of as quite possibly their last meal, and many more before then. It's Sunday dinner pared down to its bare essentials; just juicy, tender meat and crisp, crackling skin carved away by fork and knife.

Click here to see 101 Ways to Cook Chicken


For the brine

Put the black peppercorns, Sichuan peppercorns, if using, and coriander seeds into a saucepan and toast over medium-low heat, swirling the pan, until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the water and the salt, increase the heat to medium-high, and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the remaining water and the chile. Let cool to room temperature.

Rinse the chicken well under cold water. Transfer to a tall narrow plastic container just large enough to hold it. Pour the brine over the chicken and adjust the bird if necessary so it is completely immersed. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, or preferably overnight.

For the lemon curd

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized saucepan, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and lemon zest and juice until combined. Put the pan over low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is very thick and hot, but just below a simmer, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter a little at a time until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, press the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer set over a small bowl to remove the zest. Cover and let stand until cool or refrigerate if not using right away.

Position a rack in a roasting pan. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels and set it on the rack in the pan. Let the chicken come to room temperature, 20-30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Coarsely crush the black peppercorns and coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle or on a cutting board with the bottom of a small pan. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the rosemary and sage. Add three-quarters of the spice mixture to the lemon curd, along with 1 tablespoon of the water, and stir to combine.

Pat the chicken again with paper towels to make sure it is completely dry. Gently loosen the skin by sliding your fingers between the breast and skin and working them down to the thighs and drumsticks. Spoon half the lemon curd under the breast skin and use your hands to spread the curd evenly under the loosened skin all the way to the legs.

With kitchen twine, tie the legs together tightly. Brush the remaining curd evenly over the surface of the chicken, coating the whole bird. Sprinkle the remaining spice mix evenly over the chicken. Return to the rack in the pan and pour the remaining water into the pan.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and continue roasting until the chicken is golden brown and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced, 1 ½-1 ¾ hours. Add water ½ cup at a time to the pan if it starts to dry out. Let the chicken stand for 10-15 minutes before carving.


Calories per serving:

1,290 calories

Dietary restrictions:

Low Carb Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Alcohol Free, No Oil Added

Daily value:



  • Fat 350g 539%
  • Carbs 93g 31%
  • Saturated 109g 547%
  • Fiber 10g 38%
  • Trans 3g
  • Sugars 70g
  • Monounsaturated 142g
  • Polyunsaturated 70g
  • Protein 394g 789%
  • Cholesterol 2,330mg 777%
  • Sodium 24,473mg 1,020%
  • Calcium 546mg 55%
  • Magnesium 491mg 123%
  • Potassium 4,388mg 125%
  • Iron 24mg 132%
  • Zinc 29mg 194%
  • Phosphorus 3,338mg 477%
  • Vitamin A 1,302µg 145%
  • Vitamin C 100mg 167%
  • Thiamin (B1) 1mg 95%
  • Riboflavin (B2) 3mg 171%
  • Niacin (B3) 139mg 697%
  • Vitamin B6 8mg 378%
  • Folic Acid (B9) 243µg 61%
  • Vitamin B12 8µg 128%
  • Vitamin D 8µg 2%
  • Vitamin E 9mg 45%
  • Vitamin K 68µg 85%
Have a question about nutritional data? Let us know.
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