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Lemon Reduction Sauce With Roasted Chicken

by | Jan 2, 2023 | Cook, Main Dish, Recipes

When you think of a lemon butter sauce, a sweet and tart dessert sauce with fresh lemon juice served over ice cream or pound cakes may come to mind. However, this is a savory recipe for lemon reduction sauce served with roasted chicken. 

A roasted chicken with lemon slices on a cutting board.

This recipe uses simple ingredients. When working with preserved lemons, the depth of lemon flavor is so delicious it doesn’t need minced garlic, butter, heavy cream, or wine! Add a side dish of green beans, easy homemade egg noodles or from-scratch Parker House rolls, and this gourmet meal is on the table, ready to enjoy!

Why I Love Lemon Reduction Sauce

I love having a large family and growing healthy food to feed them on our homestead.

We are so blessed to raise our own chickens, preserve our own fruits and veggies, and make our own dairy products. 

Rising inflation costs make feeding a large family a challenge; beating inflation at the grocery store and preparing for food shortages is essential to our way of life.

There are days when we’ve been harvesting the garden and canning all day, so I will follow my seasonal meal planning schedule and make this easy recipe for lemon reduction sauce to serve over roasted chicken for dinner. 

It’s so enjoyable to prepare meals with my children. Not only are we making memories together, but I am also teaching them valuable skills that are becoming a lost art.  

Josh and I are teaching our children the benefits and importance of growing, farming, preserving and preparing healthy food. Our desire is for our children to grow into productive adults that contribute to family and community.

We hope that one day they will teach their children, and these traditions will carry on for generations. I am so intrigued by our forefathers’ practices that they passed down generationally, and we aspire to do the same with our family.

FAQ’s

How do you reduce the lemon taste in the sauce?

If you’re looking for a less “lemony” sauce, use half of the preserved chopped lemon instead of three-quarters. If you want a bigger punch, use the whole lemon for a more “lemony” flavor. It’s just that simple when using preserved lemons.

How do you make a lemon sauce for fish?

This savory lemon reduction sauce is delicious on fish as well. If you’d like to make this sauce without the effort of cooking up an entire chicken, you can simply reduce down some chicken stock and add in fresh thyme and preserved lemons.

A roasted chicken in a cast iron pan.

Supplies Needed

  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven – A well-seasoned 5-7 qt. cast iron dutch oven with high sides and a lid works best. (If you don’t have a lid, it will still work fine covered with aluminum foil.)
  • Paper Towels – The chicken needs to be rinsed and patted dry with paper towels.
  • Two Large Tined Forks – To safely lift the roasted chicken out of the Dutch oven.
  • Large Carving Knife – A sharp knife to cut up onions and lemons and carve the roasted chicken is essential.
  • Cutting Board – A large, clean cutting board with a juice trough is helpful for cutting up the onions and lemon and carving the chicken.
  • Wooden Spoon – Stirring occasionally after the sauce has reduced keeps it the right consistency.
  • Slotted Spoon – Makes scooping the onions easier and leaves the juice for the reduction sauce.
  • Wire Whisk – To create a sauce that is smooth and silky.
  • Large Platter – Let the chicken rest here after roasting. 
A roasted chicken with lemons on a cutting board.

Ingredients Needed

  • Roasting Chicken – A 5-6 lb. chicken fits nicely in the cast iron Dutch oven.
  • Yellow or White Onions – Learn how to grow onions here. Homesteading Hack: I like to put the chunks of onion on the bottom of the dutch oven to hold the roast chicken off the bottom. Not only does it keep it from scorching, but it also adds a depth of flavor to the sauce.
  • Salt – I prefer Redmond Real Salt, but any good quality salt will do. Use code “homesteadingfamily” for 15% off at Redmond.
  • Preserved Lemon – No need to grate lemon zest. Preserved lemons are this recipe’s star ingredient.
  • Thyme (divided) – Fresh is best, but two teaspoons (divided) of dried thyme works too.
  • Water – 3 cups to a quart, depending on the size of the chicken.
Chicken served on a plate with lemon sauce being drizzled over the chicken.

Roast Chicken with Lemon Reduction Sauce Directions

For the Roast Chicken

  1. Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  2. Wash chicken inside and outside and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Cut onions into quarters and then cut again into eighths. Place the onion chunks in the bottom of the Dutch oven.
  4. Place the whole chicken, breast side up, on top of the onions and sprinkle liberally with salt.
  5. Add enough water to the Dutch oven to cover the bottom of the chicken and onions. Don’t cover the entire chicken; just a couple of inches from the bottom will do.
  6. Place one sprig of fresh thyme into the water for flavor.
  7. Cover the chicken with the lid if you have one, and place it in a preheated oven for 90 minutes.
  8. Turn the oven temperature down to 275°F and cook for another 60 minutes.  
  9. Remove the lid for 30 minutes so the chicken browns up beautifully. Remove the chicken from the oven and place it on a platter. Homesteading Hack: Allowing the chicken to rest on a large platter for at least ten minutes ensures that the juices absorb back into the chicken, keeping it nice and moist.
  10. With a slotted spoon, remove the cooked onions from the Dutch oven and place them around the chicken.

For the Lemon Reduction Sauce

  1. Put the Dutch oven with chicken juices on your stovetop burner and turn to medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a full rolling boil (not a simmer) for at least 10 -12 minutes until it’s reduced by half the volume. 
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add chopped preserved lemon and one tablespoon fresh thyme or one teaspoon dried thyme.
  4. Use a whisk to help smooth out the reduction sauce. The pieces of lemon will break down slightly; this should take another 5-8 minutes.
  5. Reduce to low heat, add salt and pepper to taste, occasionally stirring with a wooden spoon until ready to ladle over your roasted chicken and pasta or rice. It is absolutely delicious! Homesteading Hack: To strip the thyme leaves off the stem, simply hold the sprig by the top and strip it back towards the base of the stem using your fingernails. Give a quick, fine chop, and the fresh thyme flavor will add a subtle touch to this gourmet sauce. 
  6. When we have some lemon reduction sauce left over, I put it in a glass jar with a lid and use it served warm over fish, pasta and rice. It will keep in the refrigerator for a week.

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below. Then tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily so we can see!

A roasted chicken with lemon slices on a cutting board.

Roast Chicken with Lemon Reduction Sauce

This lemon reduction sauce is so flavorful it doesn’t need butter, garlic, white wine, or cream and is delicious over chicken, fish, and rice.
4.60 from 5 votes
Print Pin
Course: Dinner, Main Course, Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 504kcal
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Equipment

  • Dutch Oven

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken 5-6 pounds
  • 2 large onions
  • 1.5 Tablespoons salt
  • .75 preserved lemon see notes for recipe
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided
  • water

Instructions

For the Roast Chicken

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Wash chicken inside and outside and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Cut onions into quarters and then cut again into eighths. Place the onion chunks in the bottom of the Dutch oven.
  • Place the whole chicken, breast side up, on top of the onions and sprinkle liberally with salt.
  • Add enough water to the Dutch oven to cover the bottom of the chicken and onions. Don’t cover the entire chicken; just a couple of inches from the bottom will do.
  • Place one sprig of fresh thyme into the water for flavor.
  • Cover the chicken with the lid if you have one, and place it in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Turn the oven temperature down to 275°F and cook for another 60 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes so the chicken browns up beautifully.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and place it on a platter. Homesteading Hack: Allowing the chicken to rest on a large platter for at least ten minutes ensures that the juices absorb back into the chicken, keeping it nice and moist.
  • With a slotted spoon, remove the cooked onions from the Dutch oven and place them around the chicken.

For the Lemon Reduction Sauce

  • Put the Dutch oven with chicken juices on your stovetop burner and turn to medium-high heat.
  • Bring to a full rolling boil (not a simmer) for at least 10 -12 minutes until it’s reduced by half the volume. 
  • Reduce heat to medium and add chopped preserved lemon and one tablespoon fresh thyme or one teaspoon dried thyme.
  • Use a whisk to help smooth out the reduction sauce. The pieces of lemon will break down slightly; this should take another 5-8 minutes.
  • Reduce to low heat, add salt and pepper to taste, occasionally stirring with a wooden spoon until ready to ladle over your roasted chicken and pasta or rice. It is absolutely delicious! 

Notes

  • When we have some lemon reduction sauce left over, I put it in a glass jar with a lid and use it served warm over fish, pasta and rice. It will keep in the refrigerator for a week.
  • If you’re looking for a less “lemony” sauce, use half of the preserved chopped lemon instead of three-quarters. If you want a bigger punch, use the whole lemon for a more “lemony” flavor. It’s just that simple when using preserved lemons.

Nutrition

Calories: 504kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 170mg | Sodium: 1468mg | Potassium: 494mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 401IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.

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