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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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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154 comments on “Lebanese Baked Chicken (Frarej)

  1. Thought I’d share this comment on this recipe over on the LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS Facebook page I regularly post recipes to:

    When Peggy 1st posted this recipe on our page, we knew we had a VIRAL HIT RECIPE on our hands! It literally blew through 1 MILLION fan approval and just kept on going! Our Friends here went wild about it, with almost 3 MILLION Fan approval for just 1 post! It’s clear our Low-Carb Friends LOVED this recipe too! It’s a “Best of the BEST” of Low-Carb Hall-of-Fame recipe! Your family & friends will LOVE it!

    When you try this recipe, you’ll see why millions are raving about this one. Warms a cook’s heart when a recipe takes on a life of its own like that. :)

  2. I have made this dish three times when I have company for dinner. It has been a huge hit every time. The vegetables have been especially well received, and since my guests are carb friendly, I have used potatoes, both red and gold. They have been very popular, as in zero leftovers. I have sliced up 1/2 of an onion, and spread that out on the bottom of the pan before putting anything else into it. The onion adds a little bit more flavor, and it adds a little more moisture that can be used for basting. By the time I get all of the chicken, onions, tomatoes, carrots, garlic, and potatoes into the pan things are really crowded, and my roasting pan is the same size as yours. I’m wondering if I could put about 1/3rd of the dish into a cast iron skillet and put that on a second rack. What are your thoughts on using cast iron skillets for this dish?

    • I think that would work OK, but iron will cook hotter and not sure you’d want to cook it quite the same way. Maybe a little less time at the higher temp? . Any second pan will work, really.

      • I did make it using the cast iron skillet to hold leftovers. Everything in the roasting pan was outstanding, the best results I have had thus far. The cast iron skillet parts were not as good. The chicken skin was not as crisp, and the vegetables, particularly the carrots, were not completely cooked. I had to put them back in for another 10 min. So I am deep sixing the cast iron skillet for this dish. I made it again last night and cut down on the number of chicken pieces in the pan–1 chicken breast, 2 legs, and 4 thighs. That gave me more room for the vegetables. The results: the best dish yet. That extra room seems critical. The skin was super crisp, the chicken was moist (I made sure that the breast was well basted), and the vegetables are to die for they are that good.

        • Well, Tom, we do learn from our trials in the kitchen, don’t we? Glad you found your happy spot on this recipe. It truly is to die for when it comes out right. And I DO use the very biggest roasting pan I have for it. Glad to count you amongst my Lebanese Baked Chicken aficionados. Happy baking to you and Happy Halloween! :)

  3. Just wanted to compliment this recipe. A friend posted it to facebook as something she wanted to try, but I got the jump on it. We aren’t low carb, so I did use red skin potatoes. They came out crispy on top and delicious. BASTE, BASTE BASTE! I already had put everything in the dish when I realized that someone (my husband) had stolen my lemon, so in panic I actually used a tarter lemonade. It STILL was amazing, and according to my family, the best oven chicken recipe I’ve made to date. Tonight, I am redoing it with a proper lemon, and I can’t wait.
    For people trying this out: One thing to account for is that the vegetables cook down in size pretty signifcantly. As long as the surface of your dish is wide enough, pack more in than LOOKS right at the beginning.

    • CousCous is noodles and very high carb, so I don’t ever do that one. Cauliflower mash soaks up the juices nicely for me. I don’t own a crock pot, but this dish, with the very high heat, requires DRY heat. Crock Pots, with their lids are actually cooking with MOIST heat. So I don’t think it will come out the same at all. That said, I’m sure it will cook thoroughly, mayb e TOO thoroughly, and fall apart on you. But you might like your results that way. You will be making a totally different dish, but perhaps a good one. :)

    • You can, but I don’t think it will be as good. You need to watch it frequently during cooking, as you will possibly overcook them if not careful at that high a heat. Maybe only start out at 475º to be safe.

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