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).   If you don’t yet have a really large, good quality stainless sttel 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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97 comments on “Lebanese Baked Chicken (Frarej)

    • I personally wouldn’t use skinned chicken for this recipe, at least certainly not before baking. That fat in the skin bastes the chicken, keeping it moist. Even if you baste the chicken every 10 minutes with pan juices, it won’t have that rich chicken fat flavor that my dish should have. Your call.

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