This Whole30 Cajun Roast Chicken with Lemon-Chive Butter takes everything you know and love about my Emergency Roast Chicken to the next level. It’s just as quick, fool-proof, and delicious, but even more flavourful thanks to the addition of a super simple, homemade Cajun spice rub and some irresistible Lemon-Chive compound butter.
The Cajun spice rub consists of 5 spices (plus salt and pepper) that you more than likely already have in your pantry. If you don’t I encourage you to purchase them. After all, the easiest and healthiest way to add flavour to a recipe is by using spices. Since each of these spices can be used for a variety of other dishes, you are essentially investing in the flavours of your future cooking. Just be sure to store your spices in air-tight canisters to better preserve them.
Also, while on the topic, although it is more economical to purchase spices in bulk, you run the risk of having them lose flavour if stored for too long. Instead, look for quality over quantity. Moreover, open-air bulk bins are not monitored and you have no idea who’s put their hands in what! No need to break the bank here, just be wiser about where you’re purchasing your spices from. For example, try ethnic grocers and even house ware stores. If you’re in Canada, HomeSense carries amazing, imported spices at discounted prices!
As for the ‘Lemon-Chive Butter‘, we’re actually using ghee in this recipe. Ghee, or clarified butter, is a fantastic substitute that is not only Whole30 compliant, but super rich in flavour. Essentially, butter is simmered until the dairy solids bubble and eventually sink to the bottom of the melted fats. The dairy solids are then discarded and you are left with a virtually dairy-free butter.
You can make ghee at home but it is a fairly long process. Luckily, it’s become more and more popular these days and can be found at many major grocery stores and even more health food stores. No matter which brand you purchase, be sure to read the labels. Some ghees are flavoured and others contain unnecessary additives and preservatives.
The technique of spatchcocking the bird (removing the backbone) for this Cajun Roast Chicken stays the same as my Emergency Roast Chicken. You can definitely roast the chicken whole, if you’d like. Spatchcocking will result in a faster cooking time and will also increase the surface area of the bird so that it makes more contact with the heat. This leads to more crispy skin, which is my favourite part!
As I outline in the Emergency Chicken recipe post, I actually prefer the half-spatchcock technique, whereby the backbone is left attached on one side of the bird. To reiterate some of the points I’ve made in the past:
- Not only is the backbone lined with delicious, tender morsels of meat, such as the ‘oysters’, that you would otherwise discard if you perform a full spatchcock, but roasting the entire bird leaves you with more of the carcass for homemade stock/bone broth.
- Roasted bones are far more flavourful than raw ones when making stock so you’re doing yourself a disservice by not roasting the backbone.
- Leaving the backbone in tact will provide you with more rendered juices in the pan or tray that you can then use to baste the bird with (this applies more so to my Emergency Roast Chicken since there it calls for no additional oils).
- The cooking time doesn’t change and it’s actually easier to only slice one side of the backbone anyways. It’s a win-win!
Because this Cajun Roast Chicken takes only 45min to cook, it’s perfect for a back-pocket, weeknight dinner. And since it presents so beautifully on the table, it makes for a great Sunday roast!
I like to serve it with some leafy greens, arugula is always a favourite, and maybe some of my Garlic and Thyme Roast Potatoes.
Whole30 Cajun Roast Chicken with Lemon-Chive Butter
for the Cajun Roast Chicken
- 1 2.5-3lbs chicken free-range, organic
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano or thyme
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper
for the Lemon-Chive Butter
- 1.5 tbsp ghee room temperature
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon approx. 1 tsp of zest
- 1 tbsp fresh chives finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Perform half-spatchcock (as outlined here).
- Add spices to a small mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, add room-temperature ghee, lemon juice, lemon zest and chives and stir to combine - set aside.
- Season the entire chicken with Cajun Spice rub. Place Chicken breast-side up in a cast-iron skillet or roasting tray lined with parchment paper. Transfer to oven and roast 35-40min or until thickest part of the breast registers 150F on an instant read meat thermometer.
- Using a spoon or brush, rub chicken with Lemon-Chive Butter and return to oven for 5-6min. Carefully tilt the skillet or roasting pan so that rendered juices can pool on one side and baste bird with a spoon or baster. Return to oven for additional 5-6min or until thickest part of the breast registers 165F on an instant read meat thermometer.
- Note: For crispier skin, switch oven to broil and cook additional 3-4 min.
- Transfer Cajun Roast Chicken to carving board, let rest 5-10min before carving. Serve with leafy greens and/or roast potatoes.