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Julia Child's Herb, Lemon, and Garlic Roast Chicken with Watercress

User Rating 5 Star Rating (3 Reviews)


Julia Child's Herb, Lemon, and Garlic Roast Chicken with Watercress

Julia Child's Herb, Lemon, and Garlic Roast Chicken with Watercress

Photo (c) John Mitzewich
This great roast chicken with watercress recipe is from Julia Child, and represents the kind of cooking she most loved - rustic, simple, and with big flavors. The herbs, lemon, and garlic combine to make a warm dressing for the chicken and watercress.

Makes 4 Portions of Herb, Lemon, and Garlic Roast Chicken with Watercress

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes


  • 2 lemons, halved, juiced and halves reserved
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed, unpeeled
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper as needed
  • 4-5 lb whole chicken
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 2 tbsp walnut or hazelnut oil
  • 2 bunch watercress, stemmed, washed and dried


In a large mixing bowl, add the lemons and juice, thyme, rosemary, garlic, black pepper, and salt. Whisk together and add the chicken to the bowl. Turn the chicken to coat on all sides. Fill the cavity with the contents on the bowl, and tie the legs together with a piece of string.

Choose a heavy-duty 9 x 13-inch metal or flame-proof glass baking dish, and add the onions to the bottom. Place the chicken in the baking dish, and pour over the rest of the liquid. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, and season generously with salt, and place in a preheated 400 degrees F. oven for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until an internal temp of 165 degrees F.

Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil again while you make the sauce. Add the chicken stock to the baking dish and scrap the bottom of the pan to deglaze any of the caramelized juices. Strain the liquid into a bowl, add the walnut or hazelnut oil and whisk to combine. Pour any juices that have collected on the plate under the chicken. Taste for salt and fresh ground black pepper, and adjust.

To serve, toss the watercress in a large bowl with half the hot sauce to wilt it very slightly. Divide the greens on plates. Cut the chicken into serving pieces and top the watercress. Spooning over the remaining sauce.
User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
Soul food, Member mpatry1962

The greens liven what would normally be just a tasty chicken recipe - mixing the gravy with them just gives the dish a whole new dimentions. I like to use roasted sesame oil instead of the nut oils suggested in the recipe. Unfortunately, the gravy does not make for a good soup with the leftovers - the lemon flavour doesn't work there.

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