Orange Lacquered Roast Chicken #citruslove

First I want to clarify (although I know 99.9% of you know this), the following Orange Lacquered Roast Chicken does not contain real lacquer or any stain or shellac.  Nor does it contain any substance you might find at Home Depot.

How to Orange Lacquer a Chicken

Can you imagine?

So, I wanted to roast a chicken with orange flavor, and after many bastings with a syrupy, Asian flavored orange goo, the skin tuned a beautiful burnished color, and I think lacquered is a great way to describe it.  However, I actually got the lacquered idea from Rick Bayless.

Orange Lacquered Roast Chicken

I couldn’t find my big platter, so I stuffed everything onto this medium dish for photos.  It really wasn’t served this way.  There were a lot more carrots and potatoes behind where this photo was taken.

Rick Bayless basted and glazed a chicken with his red mole sauce and agave syrup. He calls it Lacquered Chicken because it looks well, lacquered, not unlike a door, floor, or piece of furniture you all probably have at least one of in your home.

Great, I’m comparing chicken to lacquered wood.  I bet that’s really juicing up your appetite!

The thing is, there are people who actually do use not food safe lacquer, stains and all kinds of liquid substances that will probably poison you.  These people are professional food stylists.  Ever see those pictures of perfectly, deep golden brown turkeys on a beautiful platter with lots of fixings, smack in the middle of a Thanksgiving table, not a burnt spot or flaw to be found?  Ever wonder why that look is almost impossible to achieve? It’s because it is impossible to achieve. Although it’s a real turkey, you cannot eat it.

Orange Lacquered Roast Chicken

I usually truss before buttering or oiling, but I wanted to show the butter in every nook and cranny.  So, the wings were cut off in the buttering photo – and this was the only collage I liked.  Just truss the chicken and reach in and underneath where the wings are folded and tied down to rub the butter all over them.

I always found that to be a waste, especially with all the starving people in the world.  Take a perfectly edible turkey, roast it until it’s nice and brown, then drench it with wood stain and Minwax super gloss clear finishing lacquer to give it that lovely, burnished, flawless appearance. Then photoshop out any imperfections and burnt spots.  YUM, pass the compound and sandpaper, please!

I guess they trash the poultry once they get the photo they need.  Change that ‘I guess’ to ‘I hope’.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, my lacquered chicken contains none of the above, and look at the lovely crispy, deep, burnished skin.  No, it’s not perfect, and you won’t see it on one of Norman Rockwell’s holiday tables, but it’s completely edible and delicious!

For this month’s love bloghop, the theme is citrus.  I had sweets on the brain, like orange sticky buns, individual lemon or lime charlottes, orangey chocolate chippy cookies of some sort, etc.  After picking up an organic chicken a few nights ago my plans changed.  I was craving roast chicken, so why not an orange roast chicken? I still had sweets on the brain, so the cookies were made, and the finished brioche dough for sticky buns is resting in the fridge as I type this.  I will be posting both, but once this chicken came out of the oven, it got the job. I knew this was going to be my #citruslove offering.

Orange Lacquered Roast Chicken

To start, I made an orange compound butter to massage into the chicken, on top and underneath the skin, mostly the breast because thighs and legs don’t take kindly to their skin being pulled away and stuffed.  They tear in protest if you go too deep, no matter how gently you slide your fingers in, so I usually do the best I can.  This means the fat part of each drumstick ends up with a glob of butter, herbs or whatever, smack in the middle, which has to be massaged on the outside of the skin to cover as much of the meat as possible.


Time to segue.

As I type this, feeling no flow whatsoever, completely disjointed and discombobulated, I’m realizing how boring all of the above is.  Last week I received an email from a reader..

“Why aren’t you as funny anymore? You used to crack me up.  Are you ok?”

There’s too many answers to that question, and that was part of my response to her.  The rest was,  “I promise it’ll return, just not in a great place right now nor flowing at the moment”, with a huge smiley emoticon at the end –> 😀

Maybe I should just post my food photos with poetry or songs? I’ve heard some of the best of both have come during ‘down times’.  How about a Haiku?

Oh lacquered chicken
How beautiful thy skin
I want your drumstick

OK, maybe not.

Orange Lacquered Roast Chicken

It’s really tough to get a good photo when everyone is begging to eat. Don’t those Perfect Crispy Roast Potatoes look great?

Back to the boring writing chicken.  I wanted to infuse a good amount of orange flavor into it since I’ve had plenty of orange roast chickens where you could barely taste the orange, so I layered; I layered like I do my skin when I get out of the shower..the body oil of the scent I plan to wear, the powder of scent I plan to wear, then the actual cologne or perfume.  Orange compound butter inside out, oranges stuffed in the cavity, orange lacquer (I really love calling it that), a few herbs, seasonings, and other stuff to contrast and enhance, with a bit of Asian nuance, and we’ve got popping orange flavor, but not in an overpowering way.

Not to mention, this chicken was juicy, baby! 

Shit, I’ve got nothing today, so I’ll stop here before I continue to bore and embarrass myself.

As I mentioned above, January is #citruslove month!  Please join in on the #citruslove fun by linking up any citrus recipe from the month of January 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to stop by the #citruslove (the hashtag) event on Twitter!

A shout out and thank you to my co-hosts for #citruslove;

A Little Bit of Everything, Astig Vegan, Baker Street, BigFatBaker, CafeTerraBlog, Cake Duchess, Cakeballs Cookies and More, Easily Good Eats, Elephant Eats, Food Wanderings, Georgiecakes, Hobby and More, Mike’s Baking, Mis Pensamientos, No One Likes Crumbley Cookies, Oh Cake,, Peaches and Donuts, Savoring Every Bite, Simply Reem, Smart Food and Fit, Soni’s Food for Thought, Teaspoon of Spice, That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!, The Art of Cooking Real Food, The More Than Occasional Baker, The Spicy RD, The Wimpy Vegetarian, Vegan Yack Attack, Vegetarian Mamma, You Made That?

Please visit their blogs to see all the delicious #citruslove they created!  OH, and of course, the linky! I’ve been rather involved with the linky’s lately, huh? Well, it’s just one click below to citrus porn!

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Orange Lacquered Roast Chicken

Orange Lacquered Roast Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
  • One 5 lb organic chicken
  • Orange Butter (recipe follows)
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • Cut up oranges (use the ones you squeezed for the orange lacquer, plenty of orange flavor left in them)
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Orange Lacquer (recipe follows)
Orange Butter
  • 1 stick (4oz) unsalted, room temperature butter
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced finely
  • pinch of kosher salt
Orange Lacquer
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 6 to 8 navel or navel sized oranges. Save the squeezed orange halves to stuff into cavity of chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 scant tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped very finely, almost to a paste
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (regular sesame oil is fine)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Grate all the zest you will need in this recipe from your oranges, then split them in half and keep squeezing until you get 1 cup of juice. Save squeezed orange halves and set aside the zest and juice.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, garlic,one tablespoon of orange zest, garlic, and kosher salt until creamy and uniform. Set aside.
  3. Remove giblets and neck from chicken, then rinse under cold water inside out. Dry thoroughly.
  4. Rub some of the orange butter all around the inside of the cavity, then salt and pepper it liberally. Stuff with all the herbs and as many orange halves as you can fit into the cavity. Truss the chicken. THIS is the method I use..quick and easy. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Rub the rest of the orange compound butter all over the chicken, inside and out, lifting the skin where you can without tearing and sliding some in, then placing the skin back down and pushing it around on top of the skin until it covers most of the meat beneath. Throw any leftover compound butter into the cavity (the hole is still big enough to get it in, even though it's trussed). Liberally salt and pepper the outside of the chicken.
  6. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour a little chicken stock or water on the bottom of the pan for easier clean up and gravy, if desired, although this chicken doesn't need it.
  7. Place roasting pan with chicken in the preheated oven. Roast for 1 hour. Check every 20 minutes to make sure it isn't burning in spots. If it is, cover those spots with foil.
  8. While chicken is roasting, make orange lacquer. Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan, except the sesame oil. Cook over medium heat until the brown sugar is disssolved, then bring to a boil, stirring. Let it reduce to almost half of what it was. It won't be super thick when done, more syrupy. Stir in sesame oil.
  9. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Paint several coats of the lacquer all over the chicken, getting into every nook and cranny with the brush. Roast for 15 minutes. Do this every 10-15 minutes for a total of 35-40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F. If desired, cook/boil down (reduce) any remaining orange lacquer for a sauce, making a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken it more, if need be.
  10. Remove from oven and let rest for 15-20 minutes (this is when you should take photos if you're a food blogger! ). Carve and enjoy! I served this chicken with glazed carrots and smoked paprika roasted potatoes. I also serve them with simple browned butter peas with mint, on occasion. If you really LOVE orange, how about maple orange roasted carrots? Hop shoots were a treat with this one night; brought by a friend!

Not only is this Orange Lacquered Roast Chicken super duper juicy and flavorful, but the crispy skin is heavenly perfection on its own! Served with roasted paprika potatoes and glazed carrots, it's the ultimate comfort food meal! #roastchicken #orangechicken #lacqueredchicken

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76 Responses to Orange Lacquered Roast Chicken #citruslove

  1. Love the disclaimer at the beginning of your post 🙂 I’ll definitely have to check back for the recipe because this looks incredibly delicious, lacquer and all! Happy to be hosting #citruslove with you!

  2. OK – so the writing might be a little disjointed but that chicken… ooooh… so worth the wait! I am definitely making this recipe… er…. when you post it. 🙂

  3. Suzanne says:

    Lisa, a beautiful chicken there, I bet it was really tasty with all that orange permeating it! You are still funny, I’m not sure I would know how to take that if one of my readers asked that. No worries for me since I’m not really funny on my blog in person is a different story though :). I do hope you are well though too. Hope you have a great week.

  4. Lisa~~ says:

    Looks delish and I want to make it, well once you post the recipe! Give a call when you have the time, haven’t chatted in ages. Hope all is well.

  5. Dan says:

    A great looking looking citrus chicken even if it lacquered. The potatoes and carrots also make my mouth water. Your photos show the artist you truly are 🙂

  6. Haha no lacquer at all? You are too cute 🙂 And I love that haiku-because it expresses how I feel-I want a drumstick! 😀

  7. That chicken looks amazing! Its skin is beautiful.



  8. Jenn says:

    Wow this sounds amazing!! And gorgeous, perfect for the season!

  9. Renee says:

    Looks quite lovely, love the photographs. That nice all black background really seems to make your dish stand out. 😀

  10. You even manage to make a roast chicken look spectacular! This looks mouthwateringly delicious! Love the orange flavor

  11. Baker Street says:

    Holy yum! LOVE it! This is a lovely addition to the bloghop! Your pictures are lovely!

  12. fieldsofcake says:

    DAYUM!!!! This looks amazing!

  13. JavaCupcake says:

    I want to crawl thru the computer screen and bring that chicken home for dinner!

  14. Liz says:

    Oh, gosh, this looks amazing, Lisa! The dark lacquer is PERFECT (I had a pale roast chicken last night…tasty, but not nearly as beautiful!). Great #citruslove post!

  15. sweet baby jesus in a manger and holy fuck!!!!!!

    that looks amazing, that takes food porn to the next level……

    seriously lisa, I need to go take a break, smoke something, do something, I don’t know, that just left me speechless and longing…. kudos to you my friend!

  16. Curt says:

    Don’t you just love the honesty of commenters?

    That is an awesome recipe and an equally awesome photo. I was looking for the potato recipe in there too. Those look deliciously roasted!

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you, and Jess is a hoot! lol That said, the potatoes were put together without any measured amounts, but I’ll post what I did here and in your comment section.


      I had 6 leftover baked potatoes from the night before in the fridge. Peeled them, cut them into rough cubes – tossed them in a foil pan with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. I put them in the oven (350F) on the rack below the chicken, and after 20 minutes, they weren’t crisp and golden to my liking, so 5 minutes under the broiler, watching, with a toss or two. That’s it 🙂

  17. oh man, that looks really good! And no trip to home depot, perfect:)

  18. Laura says:

    I heard of motor oil to make everything shiny, yuck!

    The skin color on that bird is beautiful!

    I’d better check the other blogs, I love citrus!

  19. Charlie says:

    Lisa: We can’t be up all the time.
    Take it at your own pace, and don’t pressure yourself.
    Praying for you.

    This looks so awesome!!
    It looks perfect!!

    Thanks for sharing.


  20. I am makng this next weekend..just reading through the ingredient list made me hungry..I can’t wait to try it

  21. Ha, ha, ha, your blog title clever! I love everything about this dish. I’ll have to try it with oranges, I always use lemon for my chicken. The orange butter sounds fantastic too. Visiting from #citruslove bloghop!

  22. Asmita says:

    Never thought I would call a chicken gorgeous, but this one does. Yummy!!!

  23. Well I still think you are funny and I hope the slump goes up soon still for you. What no shellac? Yeah I have a book of food styling, it is INSANE what they do to food for the sake of photography. Your chicken does look absolutely fantastic.

  24. that’s a nice looking bird!

  25. Lynn Arthur says:

    Lacquering chicken, Great! Waxing poetic………maybe not so much. Longfellow, you ain’t.
    When I try to printed the recipe, comments printed as well. Can you fix that?

    • Lisa says:

      Nope…I ain’t a poet, but I can roast a chicken lol As for the printing deal, I’m not sure free wordpress allows just recipe printing, but I’ll check on it. In the mean time, highlight the recipe then right click on it and select print 🙂

  26. Suz says:

    Oh, THAT is beautiful! In your faces, food stylist chicken destroyers.

    As for the other thing: you always make me laugh, but I hope you’re okay or at least feel okay very soon. xxx

  27. Amazing orange chicken recipe! Love it! Thanks for sharing the citrus-love with us!

  28. Juliana says:

    Wow Lisa, this chicken looks delicious, perfect color and perfect flavor. I just can imagine the forks and knives ready to go down to the chicken while you are taking the pictures 🙂
    Have a great day!

  29. Soni says:

    Wow,what a beautiful roast chicken!Absolutely love the looks and I’m sure it was extremely delicious!Glad to be doing Citruslove with you 🙂

  30. Sue says:

    Well, you still seem pretty funny to me! 🙂 Your chicken looks absolutely beautiful, actually the whole platter of food does! Count me in! You’re amazing!

  31. Look at this gorgeous chicken! This is my kind of dinner and I love the orange. Yum.

  32. betty says:

    so simple and it looks delicious

  33. Sarina says:

    Ok, that chicken was just too gorgeous not to leave a comment! 🙂 In the short time I’ve been reading your posts I’ve always been left with a smile, and even if you’re not side-splitting 24/7 (who could be?) you have a kindness of spirit that shines through. Hoping that reader was well-intentioned…

  34. love the disclaimer part.. the laquer did come out nice! Citruslove to u!

  35. Your chicken looks absolutely gorgeous! I think it’s such a shame that so much food gets wasted in photo shoots, although I know a lot of stylists now encourage people on a shoot to eat what they style and don’t mess around with ingredients as much as they used to. The citrus in this sounds lovely – perfect to add a little zing into January!

  36. Megan says:

    I hope everything is ok!

    This chicken looks absolutely gorgeous and the flavors sound wonderful. Much better than the usual roasted chicken.

  37. Looks amazing, really beautiful colors. And thanks for the clarification:) I will save the lacquer for other purposes, not for basting chicken!

  38. Dinavia says:

    My mylordy, that is the most beautiful roast chicken I have ever seen! I love orange chicken, and my family will go nuts for it! Question, is it ok if I use light soy sauce instead of dark in the glaze?

  39. Sally says:

    I made this last night! Sent a photo to your contact email! It was gorgeous and the flavor was crazy good!! So juicy too! Thank you so much for this recipe, Lisamichele!

  40. spicegirlfla says:

    Wow… that is a show stopper! Lacquered is putting it nicely! The color is gorgeous!!

  41. This looks absolutely delicious! And I had to laugh at your disclaimer at the beginning! Gorgeous photos – they look like they belong in Bon Appetit!

  42. Tsp Curry says:

    This is so creative. Roast chicken is good…but this looks amazing! Thanks for detailed info on tussing…I’m no pro and need a reminder!

  43. ha ha no ingredients found at Home depot. You’re so funny!
    Sending some #citruslove your way!

  44. georgiecakes says:

    Hi Lisa, Love making & eating “orange chicken”, though I don’t think I’ve made it this way… “lacquered orange chicken”. Looks wonderful!

    PS About Ravini Greek Dessert – so very good & worth it. Search GH mag site for the recipe or Google it. There are plenty of worthy recipes out there – go for the one that is from a greekster 😉 enjoy!

  45. Valerie says:

    Well, I for one am always entertained when I come here!And I usually leave feeling hungry… (It’s dinner AND a show! Well, dinner photos, at least…) That lacquered chicken looks incredible! Bookmarked!

  46. Loved your haiku! 😉 I think that lacquered is the perfect way to describe this chicken, sending some citruslove your way!

  47. I don’t know about that reader, but this post had me giggling all the way through the comments (Jessica!too funny). But let’s talk lacquer…I never knew that that’s what they do! I’m so naive. Your lacquered chicken is gorgeous and edible:) rock on #citruslove 🙂

  48. samology says:

    I think… I think.. I think… I might just be able to finish the whole chicken by myself…. mmmm….

  49. foodessa says:

    Now, this is certainly much loving dedication to one chicken. I feel incredibly lazy prepping my bird next to your masterpiece ;o)
    The citrus was certainly well respected and I can only imagine how fabulous that first bite can be. It’s not even 5 A.M and I’m thinking chicken for breakfast!

    A small aside:
    Lisa…I sure do hope that email didn’t ruffle your feathers too much…cuz, no matter what…you’ll always entertain me ;o) Actually, I’m surprised someone would actually make you that comment no matter how concerned they could be. Oh well…just my tiny opinion 😉

    Have a great weekend,

  50. Jenni says:

    Oh, your roasted chicken looks beautiful!! I agree with you, I am not impressed with food stylists as of late. Yes, their photographs are beautiful, but its so fake! No one is about to eat it, there isn’t a hungry mob standing around them with forks and knives, everything is just too fake. This orange chicken, however, looks utterly delicious, I wish I had a drumstick right now!

  51. Gazing at your gorgeous chicken over my morning coffee has my stomach rumbling! You lacquered it up real good! Glad you went with a savory for #citruslove 🙂

  52. bakingaddict says:

    That chicken looks amazing!! You’re making me feel really hungry. I like the way you write and I thought it was a good post. It’s been fun co-hosting #citruslove with you. This is the first savoury recipe I’ve seen for #citruslove – great choice!

  53. Sophie33 says:

    Your appetizing chicken dish is truly superb, amazing & appetizing!

  54. Elle Baker says:

    Perfectly beautiful dark glowing skin…and it sounds yummy, too.

  55. Devon says:

    This is exactly how a roast chicken basted with anything fruit or sugar based, should be. Nt only beautiful to look at, but I can tell how juicy it is from the sliced photo. That platter COULD be in a Norman Rockwell painting!

  56. Mary says:

    This is one of the most entertaining blogs out there, no matter what kind of mood you’re in! I always giggle at the very least when reading your posts. That chicken looks fantastic–I would have stripped the skin off and eaten it in the kitchen. Bad host, me. Now I wonder how many people are using that glaze to shellac their furniture? Hope 2012 is a great year for you!

  57. Terra says:

    I love the word lacquered, but simply adore shellac:-) I mean who would want to try a Shellac Chicken with loads of CitrusLove, LOL!!! My husband loves chicken, he would love this recipe, it looks soooooo delicious:-) Hugs!

  58. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Loved reading the post 🙂 The chicken does look really gorgeous!

  59. SpicieFoodie says:

    Lacqured is the perfect word for the process. Your chicken looks straight out of a food magazine. So much time, effort, attention and love went into it that of course it has to taste heavenly.

  60. Carolyn says:

    Wow, that chicken truly does look lacquered. AND amazing! And even your “boring” writing is never boring. 😉

  61. Crumbs of Love says:

    Wow Lis- my husband would leave me for you over this dish!
    Hope you had a nice holiday season- I was in NY for 6 weeks enjoying the warm weather!
    Best, Sandie

  62. Jamie says:

    You really received that email? Well, maybe she lost her sense of humor because I always find you hysterically funny! And ooooh gross… I cannot imagine anyone would have to actually smear furniture stain on a bird to get it looking, well, as stunning as yours. It is amazing – a gorgeous color and such juicy meat! I can only imagine how delicious and orangey it is! Perfect work of art!

  63. I would be begging to eat that chicken too! It looks absolutely amazing… I can’t believe the gorgeous color you got on it – that too, sans the lacquer! 🙂 Yummy! I am so bookmarking this and making it soon! Love it to bits… Thanks so much for sharing!

  64. shaz says:

    How can you say that’s not perfect? It looks amazing! I’m hankering for some of this citrus love 😉

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  68. Catrin says:

    For those who want EXTRA SAUCE/GLAZE read here! I wanted to serve the chicken over rice but I wanted it to be saucy. I doubled the ingredients and did 10 drumsticks BUT I threw it all into a crock pot. I didn’t want to have to stand over the stove so the crock pot was great! I let it cook for 4 hours on low, and next time I would throw in some thighs and maybe even breasts. There was sooo much extra sauce, that it almost needed more chicken. My husband and kids loved it, the sauce is delicious even by itself over rice! The crock pot made the chicken so tender it was just falling off the bone. I eventually did take all the meat off the bone, put it over the rice and spooned the sauce over..YUMMY! Definitely a recipe that will stay with me forever, I even posted the recipe from this site onto my Facebook status as “Tonights Dinner!” 

  69. Anna Mark says:

    This is MY FAVORITE chicken recipe of all time. I hardly make any other type of chicken. After tasting, My friend said I’m the ” kitchen witch” . Tastes amazing. I serve over wild rice with peppers and mushrooms to soak up all the juice. Can be made into a yummy cold chicken salad for leftovers as well!

    • Lisa says:

      So happy to hear that you loved it and it’s now your favorite chicken recipe, Anna! ‘Kitchen Witch’ is culinary flattery at its finest! I haven’t ever used the leftovers for a chicken salad, but I have a dynamite chicken salad recipe on this blog that I will definitely use it for asap! Thanks for stopping by to tell me how much you love it! 🙂

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