Lebanese Baked Chicken (Frarej)

Lebanese Baked Chicken

Lebanese Baked Chicken (Frarej)

This recipe has been one of my most popular and most visited recipes to date.  Our best friends in Dallas have taken us several times to a wonderful little Lebanese restaurant over in Ft. Worth named Hedary’s.  Family-operated for many years, I can say their tabouleh  salad and kebabs are to die for!  So is their slow-roasted baked lemon chicken known as Frarej.  For those tables positioned close enough to do so, they used to serve their fresh-baked pita bread all the way from behind the counter on long, paddled poles.   Don’t know if they still do that, but is sure was fun to watch!  Next time you’re in Ft. Worth, give Hedary’s a try!  But in the meantime…………………..experience their delicious baked chicken at home!

This Induction friendly version of their ever-popular lemony chicken dish is slightly changed.  The original dish has potato wedges, so I always substitute rutabaga or turnip wedges to keep the carbs reasonably low.  I did not include the root vegetables in the nutritional info below as I don’t always include them in the pan.  I tend to vary the vegetables I use based on what I have on hand.  So be sure to calculate the veggies you add (and consume) over and above what I consider to be the base recipe of onion, garlic and tomatoes.  If you have family that are not on Atkins, I would definitely use a few wedges of potato for them, as they soak up those tasty pan juices like a sponge and are sooooooo tasty.

My rendition is very close to the inspirational dish from Hedary’s, though I must confess, not QUITE as good.  This meal is easy to prepare and the oven basically does the work for you!  Gives a whole new meaning to “Set it & forget it”.  :)

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INGREDIENTS:

4 T. olive oil

1 cut up whole chicken or 8 pieces

4 oz. onion cut into wedges (separate layers)

2 Roma tomatoes cut into wedges

6-10 cloves garlic, (leave half of them whole, mince the rest)

½ tsp. oregano

Juice of 1 lemon

Dash salt and pepper

OPTIONAL: Carrots and wedges of rutabaga or turnips (for non-low-carbers, potato wedges)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 500º.  Cut up chicken into separate pieces making 8 pieces in all.   I never use the back as I simmer that for broth to freeze for other purposes or it becomes dinner for my dogs.  :)  Drizzle 1 T. of the olive oil on the bottom of a very large baking/roasting pan (I use a 12 x 15 stainless steel metal pan).   I do not recommend glass/ceramic wre for such high temperature cooking.  If you don’t yet have a really large, good quality stainless steel roasting pan, I think it is one of the single most important investments you can make in your cooking tools.  Place chicken skin side up  in the pan.  You don’t want any overlapping or crowding.  I do not recommend using a glass or ceramic baking dish at the very high temperature called for in this recipe.  Glass can be unpredictable, can even break, above 450º.  Crowding of this chicken and the surrounding veggies will result in deeper pan juices around them and that will impede crisping of the chicken.  Place tomato wedges around and in between chicken pieces.  Do the same with the onion pieces and add the garlic.  If using the root vegetables, cut them up and place them evenly around the chicken.  Squeeze the lemon over everything in the pan.  Drizzle remaining olive oil over the pan contents as well.   Lightly sprinkle some oregano over all (about 1/4-½ tsp, I don’t measure it).   Bake 30 minutes at 500º.  Baste with pan juices, lower heat to 350º and bake another 20 minutes or to internal temperature of the chicken is 170º on a meat thermometer.   Baste with pan juices just before serving if desired.  I like to place the juices in a gravy boat and have it on the table for basting the drier breast meat.  If there are any juices leftover, I freeze them and add them to the bottom of the pan next time I make this recipe (which is often!).  I like to serve this with a Tabouleh parsley salad.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: (does NOT include the optional potato, turnips or carrots).
Please note, these numbers are only approximate, because the actual counts will vary depending on which pieces of chicken and which roasted veggies you eat.

Serves 4, each 2-piece serving contains:

447 calories

30.4 g  fat

7.98 g  carbs, 1.1 g fiber, 6.88 g  NET CARBS

34.8 g  protein

approx. 39 mg. sodium

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131 comments on “Lebanese Baked Chicken (Frarej)

  1. Used legs and thighs and everything turned out great. Didn’t have the garlic cloves so I used minced garlic under the chicken. Started at 500° and followed the directions explicitly, used rutabagas and vadalia onion with organic carrots, Morton salt (instead of the sea salt I usually use), cracked peppercorns. I must say this was not only delicious the first day but awesome on the second day also.

  2. I am making this now, when I took the pan out to baste with juices in between cycles there were no juices, in fact some vegetables were burned. I did have chicken broth on the stove top that is based with, but I am extremely worried I am just gonna end up with dry burnt chicken. Any clue what I did wrong?

    • Your oven may cook hotter than mine? You may be cutting your vegetables smaller than I do? Did you use just chicken breast? Did you remover the skin before baking? Just the breast often results in less pan juices. Whole, cut-up chickens, or thigh/leg quarters works better for predictable results. Ovens do vary. Lower temp to 350º until the chicken is just right. Add a little of that broth to the pan and baste. You could even remove the over-browned vegetables temporarily to a platter while the chicken finishes cooking. Sorry things over-browned for you. I’ve never had that happen nor has anyone reported they did. I’ll bet it’s a little of both, oven temp and you sliced veggies smaller. Hope it comes out OK.

  3. HELLO. PEGGY!! I AM GOING TO TRY THIS TONIGHT. BUT, I HAVE A QUESTION….CAN CABBAGE BE USED IN THIS RECIPE? IF SO, WHAT CHANGES WILL NEED TO BE MADE IN COOKING TIME, IF ANY??

  4. I made this recipe tonight and I loved it, it came out soooo delicious. The chicken was very favorable and the crispness of the chicken came out perfect. I will be making this recipe very often. My family said I didn’t make enough, that’s how good it was. Thanks for sharing.

    • I’m so glad it was a hit! You’ll just have to invest in a big old roasting pan like I finally did. Mine is a stainless steel pan that’s about 15 x 18 and I can bake a LOT of this chicken in it. Fills the entire oven shelf practically. Best $20 investment I ever made, because when you need one that big, you just DO. Ask Santa to bring you one for Christmas. ;)

  5. I made this recipe for the first time last week using skinless, boneless chicken breasts and it was delicious! The chicken was a little dry though. Made it tonight with a whole chicken with skin and bone in and it was delicious again but much better with the skin. Used carrots as my vegetable and they were incredibly tasty! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. It is my family’s new favorite chicken dish.

    • I just knew you’d like it better with skin on, Carolyn. The difference is night and day to me. Aren’t those roasted carrots drenched in the pan juices delightful? They are my fav! So glad you didn’t give up on first try. My Mom always said, Peggy, follow the recipe “exactly” the first time. I should learn to listen to her, but I’m such a terminal tweaker. On this recipe, it’s super important.

  6. I made this and it was to bland. No one liked it. I may attempt it again and add some additional seasoning next time. Also the chicken didn’t brown like it appeared to in the picture?

    • Well it’s not what I call a “spicy” recipe, Annette, but I don’t find garlic and oregano to be bland at all. Perhaps for your personal taste you need to increase the garlic and oregano? Of if you’re wanting spicy, a dusting of cayenne pepper? That will make the flavors MUCH more intense.

      As to not browning, did you start at the specified 500º? If not, it simply will not get as brown. I know, I’ve tried it lower myself. Everyone else that has made this and shared photos with me has had similar results to my picture, some even browner than mine. Be sure you don’t cover this pan with foil, or browning will stop. That’s all I can think of that might have gone wrong for yours, Annette.

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